More global airlines eye Zimbabwean airspace





Zimbabwe’s aviation sector is set for a boom, with authorities indicating that more global airlines are looking to fly into the country.

This increased interest in Zimbabwe’s air space comes as Qatar Airways — which was named as The Best Airline in The World according to a new list from airlineratings.com — is set to commence flights into the country on August 6.

International airlines already flying into Zimbabwe include: Lufthansa Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South African Airways, ComAir, British Airways and RwandAir.

Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) acting chairman Dr George Manyaya, told Herald Business & Finance that they have been receiving more enquiries globally. 

“We have been receiving enquiries from various global airlines which I cannot mention for now who are expressing interest in operating within our airspace and this augurs well with the engagement and re-engagement with the international community key national priority which is enshrined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). 

“Aviation is a key enabler and we will not tire nor relent in our determination to attract more airlines and provide quality of experience, safety and security at all our airports,” said Dr Manyaya. 

“This will grow the local aviation industry, create jobs, facilitate international trade and tourism and cumulatively generate economic growth as we try to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The State-owned ACZ was established last year, and its mandate is to, among other things, manage all airports in-country and to upgrade aviation infrastructure has outlined its plans to contribute to the realisation of the US$5 billion tourism industry through revamping of airports in order to boost tourist arrivals.

With regards to its aviation infrastructure, Zimbabwe is looking to improve its air connectivity, particularly to a number of domestic tourist attractions, as it seeks to improve the tourism sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), according to the National Tourism Revival and Growth Strategy (2020 – 2025). 

Aside from the country’s three main airports (the Robert Mugabe International Airport, the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport and the Victoria Falls International Airport), Zimbabwe’s significant smaller airports include the Buffalo Range Airport, which is situated near the Great Limpopo Trans-Frontier Park, which is a conservation area that combines Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou, Mozambique’s Great Limpopo and South Africa’s Kruger national parks to form one of the world’s largest wildlife reserves and the Kariba Airport, which offers a transport link to the Kariba Dam, a major tourist attraction.

Other key airports are Hwange Airport, which is located near the country’s largest national park, the Hwange National Park, and the Masvingo Airport, which offers access to the Great Zimbabwe Monument. And there is also Charles Prince Airport, which accommodates charter operators.

Air connectivity is widely considered a key driver for growth, especially for attractive tourist destinations.Dr Manyaya said having a global airline of Qatar Airways’ stature is a testimony of Zimbabwe’s pull.

Qatar Airways will be flying three times a week into Zimbabwe.

“We are exhilarated that Qatar Airlines will be commencing their flights in a few days to come. This is testimony that the country continues to attract global airlines and is a destination of choice amongst tourists and potential investors courtesy of the bold and transformative policies being implemented by the Second Republic,” he said. 

“Zimbabwe is indeed open for business and consequently we are fulfilling the open skies policy which bodes well with NDS1, which places transport infrastructure and utilities as a key national priority.”