Kudakwashe Mhundwa Business Reporter
Tanzanian national airliner Air Tanzania yesterday re-introduced flights into Harare from Dar es Salaam at a time when several airliners are also increasing flights into the country. The airline will ply the route three times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, using an Airbus A220-300.
Air Tanzania is the first to operate this aircraft in Africa and Harare is among its first destinations.
Air Zimbabwe and Fastjet are already servicing the route, which has become popular with Zimbabweans travelling to the coastal city to collect second-hand vehicles that they are importing mostly from Japan.
Speaking during the launch, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira welcomed the move, saying the re-launch of the route opens a new chapter for the country’s economy by enhancing both Zimbabwe’s trade and tourism activities.
“This historic re-launch is expected to open a whole chapter from an economic point of view as it enables our citizens to enjoy our diverse tourist attractions, which include Mt Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar in Tanzania and locally the majestic Victoria Falls and the Great Zimbabwe, as well as improved trade and commerce between the two countries. This increased connectivity will make it easier for tourists around the world to visit these attractions for the benefit of our states,” she said.
“The aviation industry plays a critical role and is indispensable for tourism, which anchors on reliable and convenient air services to facilitate the arrival of larger numbers of tourists to a region or country.
“It is estimated that just over half of all tourists travel by air.
“Aviation-related tourism supports 35 million jobs worldwide, in total, thereby contributing more than $800 billion to global GDP.
“Regionally, the impact of tourism can be even more profound with new air services increasing the propensity to travel.”
Minister Mupfumira also highlighted that Government is working on liberalising the country’s air transport markets as it moves to enhance destination connectivity.
“Our Government has engaged in the liberalisation of air transport markets with the aim of enhancing destination connectivity for the benefit of travellers.
“This is evidenced by our signing of the Solemn Commitment on the Single African Air Transport Market, a testimony to Zimbabwe’s commitment to the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision,” she said.
The development also comes as other regional players are working on increasing the number of flights in the country.
RwandAir says it will from July this year introduce flights every day from Harare to Cape-Town while it is also considering tapping into other routes, which include Victoria-Falls-Johannesburg, Mozambique and Zambia.