Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
SOUTH African Airways (SAA) will tomorrow launch its wide-bodied 222-seater airbus flight to Victoria Falls.
Regarded as one of the leading airlines in Southern Africa, SAA is upgrading itself and confirming its commitment to servicing the Johannesburg-Victoria Falls route following the completion of the $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport upgrade, which was commissioned by President Mugabe in November last year.
The new look airport facility can now accommodate wide bodied aircraft. Reports from reliable sources indicate that the plane is already fully booked for the Victoria Falls flight for the month as more travellers flock into the country.
According to the SAA website, the A330-200 will land midday in Victoria Falls tomorrow.
“South African Airways in this week’s schedule update adjusted planned operational aircraft for Johannesburg-Victoria Falls with the introduction of wide-body aircraft operation. From March 1, 2017.
“This daily service will be operated by 222-seater Airbus A330-200, replacing 138-seater A320,” read information on the website.
The schedule will see the flight departing Johannesburg at 10:50AM and arriving at 12:25PM. It will leave Victoria Falls at 13:25PM and land in Johannesburg at 15:05PM daily.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operating officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi, who was in Victoria Falls on Saturday, confirmed that SAA would introduce a wide bodied airbus adding that the development was a sign of a bright future for the aviation industry.
“SA Airways wouldn’t have increased capacity if things weren’t well. They are starting on March 1 and this is a sign of a positive future for our aviation industry emanating from state-of-the-art facilities the country has put in place. All we can say as Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is that we hope the trend continues,” he said.
Mr Chidzidzi said he was hopeful that more airlines would come into the country including charter flights from Europe since the airport can now take bigger aircraft.
“We know Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways and RwandAir are coming soon and we are confident because we have spoken to them. As different authorities tasked with marketing our facilities and tourism industry, we are doing so at various fora and through e-platforms,” he added.
The Victoria Falls International Airport has been regarded as a game changer in the country’s tourism and aviation as its expanded 4km and 60 metres wide runway can accommodate wide bodied aircraft such as B747, B777, Airbus A340 and A380 among others.
SAA is a Star Alliance member and operates in over 40 destinations across the globe, with over 14 000 weekly connections through its global partners’ network with O.R Tambo International as the main hub.
It carries over 6 million passengers annually across the network and is the first to bring in such big aircraft.