AIR Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) over the weekend launched new routes to Zambia and Zimbabwe with its Airbus A220-300, as part of the national airline's move to explore business opportunities in the South African countries.
The new route is expected to stimulate economy between the three countries and is to open up more business ventures as well as addressing air transport woes to passengers travelling within and outside the region.
The Airbus A220-300 took off at the Dar es Salaam's Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) to the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe and later landed at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia.
The ATCL's Airbus A220-300 will be travelling three times a week to the two countries- Zambia and Zimbabwe. Passengers of the maiden flight commended the government for investing heavily in the aviation sector.
One of the passengers and agro-dealer, Mahenye Muya said that the ATCL new route will reduce costs on the side of the passengers, who have been spending lots of money due to lack of direct flight between the three nations.
"As a businessman, I am happy to travel with ATCL to Zimbabwe," Muya said, lauding the government for the new drive to link Tanzania with other southern African countries. Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Isack Kamwelwe said that ATCL is determined to improve air transport by increasing the number of flights as well as reaching many African countries and Asian nations.
For his part, Zimbabwean Minister for Environment and Tourism Prisca Mupfumira said that the resumption of ATCL transport services reinforces the bilateral relations between the two countries
. Acting Zambia's Minister for Transport and Communications, Kafwaya Mutotwe described the resumption of air services between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka as key in fostering socioeconomic development between the two countries.
He said the relationship and cooperation between the countries is very clear and can be exemplified by a strategic asset co-owned by our two countries--the TAZARA.
"The introduction of Air Tanzania flights to Lusaka will create the required connectivity into East Africa and Tanzania in particular.
For a long time now, our people have been complaining over lack of regular and scheduled direct air connectivity between the two countries.
The lack of connectivity adds to the cost of travel and indeed the cost of doing business in the sub region and between two countries.
He said the direct route into Dar es Salaam will therefore shorten travel times, lower fares and ultimately lead to improved air connectivity and convenience between Zambia and Tanzania.
"I hope the direct route will further open up business opportunities and promote tourism trade and foreign direct investments between Zambia and Tanzania," he further added.