The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism says the commencement of Kenya Airways’ flight services to Victoria Falls will increase tourist arrivals in the resort town through enhanced capacity and destination marketing.
ZCT president Tich Hwingwiri said the re-development of the airport and subsequent scheduling of services by new airlines would make a major difference to business levels at Zimbabwe’s premier tourist destination, and he looked forward to more international airlines taking up options to fly direct to Victoria Falls.
“The re-development was designed to offer increased capacity throughput, including facilitating use of the airport by wide-bodied aircraft carrying large numbers of passengers, and existing accommodation facilities in Victoria Falls can handle significant increases in arrivals immediately,” he said.
“It is our hope that Victoria Falls will become one of the most important air service destinations in Africa, acting as a stimulus for further development of facilities for leisure and conference travellers.”
Mr Hwingwiri said the creation of direct services to Victoria Falls by Ethiopian Airlines, and now Kenya Airways, was the start of what was hoped to be a steady increase in first-time service by major carriers.
“Existing and long-standing services by South African Airways, British Airways operated by Comair, Air Zimbabwe, fastjet Zimbabwe and Air Namibia continue to be offered and we are grateful to these airlines for the confidence they have shown in the destination over a long period of time,” Mr Hwingwiri said.
In a statement, the airliner said this will be its 52nd destination and its second city in Zimbabwe after Harare.
The airline operates 21 flights weekly to Harare.
“We have seen increased demand for Cape Town, and had to increase our frequency in December.
“The route via Victoria Falls offers our guests two leisure holiday options,” chief executive officer Mbuvi Ngunze was quoted as saying this week by Kenyan publications.
Mr Ngunze earlier he said “This new route highlights our strategy to continue ‘winning in Africa’ which is driven by opening up the region and ensuring our value proposition meets the demands for our customers.”
Mr Ngunze said the new route will be operated three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
He said the Victoria Falls operation will be linked to Cape Town, South Africa. This will see the airline increase its operations to Cape Town from the current four, which are served via Livingstone, Zambia, to six.
“We have seen increased demand for Cape Town, and had to increase our frequency in December. The route via Victoria Falls offers our guests two leisure holiday options,” he said.
The flight will depart Nairobi at 7.20am, arrive in Victoria Falls at 9.30am, depart Victoria Falls 10.20am and arrive in Cape Town at 1.25pm.
The return flight will take off from Cape Town International Airport at 2.15pm, arrive Victoria Falls at 5.10pm and depart Victoria Falls at 6pm and touchdown Nairobi at 10pm.
Kenya Airways will be the only carrier offering direct services between Victoria Falls and Cape Town.
This offering will see guests enjoying Victoria Falls from the Zambia side via Livingstone and Zimbabwe side via Victoria Falls.
The route will be operated by Embraer E190 with a configuration of 12 business class seats and 84 economy class seats.