Air Zimbabwe has resumed domestic flights after the airline had failed to resume additional flights from March 28 as initially planned.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Ms Firstme Vitori said the domestic flights which are operating on a triangle route – Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls initially and will operate four times a week every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday
She said the resumption will act as a feed to rebuild regional and international routes. Ms Vitori said:
_We are deploying the Embraer (ERJ145) whose capacity is best suited for this route as we begin to rebuild a feeder into the regional network. The resumption of domestic flights is expected to bring convenience to the business community boost to the tourism sector._
The flights had been suspended in January 2020 due to operational challenges and then the coronavirus pandemic.
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Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents chairperson Mrs Mercy Mandevhani welcomed the return of domestic flights. She told reporters in Victoria Falls:
_To keep people in their jobs, boosting our trade and tourism, we have got to put planes in the air, and we have got to put tourists on the ground._
_This recommencement of domestic flights is a step in the right direction towards boosting tourism which has for the last one year plus, been negatively affected by the pandemic._
_What we are looking for is an assurance that at a point in time, as the vaccine roll out is gathering momentum, further travel restrictions and border closures will be ruled out, hence the need for airlines to be operational_
_This resumption will help with connectivity and the travel trade is ready to support Air Zimbabwe and look forward to increased frequencies and additional regional routes._
Other stakeholders including Wenhau Safaris Advisory Group, Perennial Travel and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport said the flights had come at an important time and provided hope for recovery of the tourism sector.