Zimbabwe: Absence of Airline Frustrates Kariba Tourism

4 September 2019

The continued absence of a domestic airline service to Kariba is frustrating the growth of the tourism business in the destination.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority executive director for domestic tourism and strategic research, Mrs Sophie Zirebwa, said air connectivity was critical for Kariba as access to the destination was presently by road only.

"Road access makes it expensive and time consuming.

There is need for encouragement of low cost airlines to take up these internal routes like Fastjet who are set to re-launch Kariba particularly for the South African market," she said.

Mrs Zirebwa, however, said for airlines to consider the Kariba route there was need for the volumes to justify the flights.

"Thus it is important to all the stakeholders particularly tourism operators to come up with affordable packages that can be used to rejuvenate Kariba. Affordable package can also be used by the airlines to boost volumes," she said.

National carrier Air Zimbabwe said they were also planning to reintroduce flights into Kariba once they acquire the size of aircrafts that can be handled by the airport in the resort town. Air Zimbabwe suspended flights into Kariba in 2016 citing low business volumes.

Head of marketing and ground operations, Mr Tafadzwa Zaza, yesterday said they were in the process of acquiring appropriate aircraft to service the route but would not give timelines.

"The aircrafts we have at the moment are big for that airport. We don't have the appropriate equipment but we are in the process of acquiring such to service that route," he said.

"We don't have the time frame to resume flights into Kariba until we get the equipment."

Air Zimbabwe is a strategic player in the economy hence Government has approved its restructuring among others through securing a technical partner in view of a negative balance sheet.

The company has said it is working on the issue to provide an operating platform required to support significant investment.

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