from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – BOTSWANA’S Mack Air has expanded its service between the city of Kasane and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe due to high demand.
With land borders remaining closed, the air connection between the two neighbouring countries has become popular.
Mack Air launched its inaugural scheduled flights in May using a 14-seater Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft shuttling between Kasane and Victoria Falls.
The airline has introduced a second aircraft which however flies on demand.
“Since Mack Air launched we have grown considerably. Since borders were closed we expected a dip, however support from tourism industry and cross border transfer companies has been phenomenal,” said Michael Weyl, the Mack Air, Managing Director.
“We ended up with two scheduled flights per day. We fly daily and on demand. If there is demand for one we only dispatch one aircraft if there is demand for the two aircrafts we dispatch another one.”
Weyl said the airline was grateful for support from the Victoria Falls community, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and other stakeholders.
He said traffic is low at the moment as expected especially going into the low season until around February.
“We expect to have a bit of a dip but 2022 bookings are looking good,” said Weyl.
Mack Air is courting Eurowings Discover for partnerships, but the company already cherishes business to be brought by the Lufthansa-owned airline.
“The exciting part about Eurowings Discover connecting Victoria Falls to Windhoek is that it gives another international access point to Botswana as a neighbouring country where we can start redirecting international tourism to Europe from Germany itself into Windhoek, to Victoria then connect with Mack Air to Botswana and Okavango Delta,” Weyl said.
Currently, there is no link between Victoria Falls and Namibia after Air Namibia suspended flights last year.
Mack Air is the first airline to offer daily scheduled flights between Victoria Falls and Kasane and industry has hailed this as a game changer as it connect the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA).
It boasts of most modern fleet of any airline in Africa, with an average fleet age of less than five years.
Traditionally, tourists visiting any of the five KAZA countries namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe would make one day road trips to sample wildlife and other leisure places.
They visit to view Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park with the help of shuttle buses and vehicles from tour operating companies.
Before lockdown, Air Zimbabwe, FastJet, British Airways/ComAir, Air Namibia, Kenyan Airlines, South African Airways, Air Link and Ethiopian Airways flew into the resort town.
– CAJ News