By Taka Shambare
Harare (New Ziana) – Germany’s Eurowings Discover airline will start flying into the country next month, and another from Eswatini is also eying Zimbabwe, a top aviation official said on Wednesday.
The announcement is the latest show of confidence in the local tourism industry, and aviation market in general, by foreign airlines and the international community.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe director-general, Engineer Elijah Chingosho, said Eurowings Discover, will fly to Victoria Falls from Frankfurt, and local airline, Fly Africa, was also readying for a come back onto the market.
“So far this year we have a European operator called Eurowings. They are expected to start operations from March this year and they will be flying from Frankfurt via Windhoek to Victoria Falls, also we have a local operator called Fly Africa, we were expecting that they would have started but they are almost ready to start,” he told a media briefing.
“We also received inquiries from Eswatini, they are also interested in flying into the country. These are the three which are certain of at the moment.”
Chingosho said Fly Africa was targeting the Cape Town-Johannesburg-Victoria Falls route.
Chingosho told New Ziana that Zimbabwe’s attraction of more airlines to fly to the country fitted well into the African Union’s agenda 2063 target of creating a single African air transport market.
“Zimbabwe was one of the first 11 African countries which declared their commitment to the single African air transport market in 2015. Zimbabwe is committed to fully opening up its market for those who find it commercially viable to fly into the country and also committed to facilitating local airlines to fly to other regions of the world,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is really open for business in terms of the air transport industry and we want more players in the industry, by having more players in the country it means more competition, more competition means there is better value for our customers.”
Last week, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) attributed the growing interest in the country by foreign airlines to improved aviation infrastructure.
The company is in the final stages of completing refurbishment and expansion of the country’s major airport, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International.
Victoria Falls and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo have already been refurbished and upgraded to international standards.
“It is the confidence that the airlines have in the destination and we as the Airports Company are playing our part in ensuring that the infrastructure is ready and is available and modernised,” ACZ chief executive officer Tawanda Gusha said.
Resources will also be directed towards upgrading all small airports in the country to increase their passenger and cargo handling capacity.