Air Tanzania resumes direct flights to Zim

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Tinashe Makichi

Air Tanzania has resumed direct flights to Zimbabwe in a move that is expected to boost trade and commerce, about two decades after the airline dumped the route when the Zimbabwean economy nosedived.

The airline will be plying the Harare-Dar es Salaam route three times a week using its Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

The route was being serviced by low cost carrier fastjet and Air Zimbabwe and traffic on this route has been on an increase driven by increased trade between the two countries.

Director in the ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development Allowance Sango welcomed the airline adding that the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe was working hard towards setting up modern aviation facilities.

“Air Tanzania is one of the first airlines to operate such a modern  aircraft seen here in Harare and in response CAAZ continues to upgrade its aviation facilities to meet modern trends. CAAZ is in the process of securing funds to undertake several upgrading initiatives,” Sango  said.

Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the introduction of flights by Air Tanzania “demonstrate growing confidence towards Zimbabwe and the aviation industry in general”.

“The aviation industry plays a critical role and is indispensable for tourism since it facilitates the movement of tourism. It is estimated that almost half of the number of tourists travel by air hence the importance of aviation,” said Mupfumira.

Mupfumira urged Air Tanzania to partner Air Zimbabwe in sharing technical expertise as well as synergies. She added that the same should be done by all African airlines to consider partnerships going forward.

Mupfumira said the Tanzania Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe has already promised the Tanzanian airline would fly the Dar es Salaam -Victoria Falls route.

Kamwelwe said Air Tanzania  would soon fly the Victoria Falls route connecting with Mt Kilimanjalo within six hours.

“The two countries have a long shared history and we want to thank the two Presidents of in that we continue to have a shared vision. These flights will open up a new chapter to business people, tourists and relatives visiting each other,” said Kamwele.

Air Tanzania is planning flights to China and India.