from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – THE Zimbabwean aviation industry has made significant growth over the past five years with airlines flying into the country increasing from three to 17.
This is for the period 2017 to the current year.
However this is way below the 45 regional and international airlines in 1999 at the peak of tourism in the country.
“With regards to tourism and hospitality, the increased number of airlines from three at the onset of the Second Republic to the current 17 is a testimony of the growth trajectory of the sector as well as the undeniable success of our engagement and re-engagement efforts,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
He was speaking at the 42nd Independence Day address on April 18.
Airlines operating in Zimbabwe include Air Zimbabwe, Airlink, Air Botswana, Air Tanzania, BA Comair, DHL, Emirates, Ethiopian Airways, Eurowings Discover, Fastjet, Kenyan Airways, LAVA, MacAir, Martinair, Qatar, Rwandair and South African Airways (SAA).
A majority of them had stopped operations during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and have since resumed.
The return of the Lufthansa Group-owned Eurowings Discover is viewed as a sign of thawing relations between Zimbabwe and Western countries.
Relations had reached rock bottom starting in 2000 when the country introduced the land reform programme which together with alleged political and human rights abuses, saw the Southern African country being alienated and hit with sanctions.
Wengai Nhau, Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president, said the industry was aiming to bring back the heyday.
“In 1999 we had 45 international airlines. Now we are at number 17. So, 45 from 17 is what the industry is aiming at. We will not disappoint,” Nhau assured.
– CAJ News