Fastjet Zimbabwe, one of the leading African airlines, has increased the frequency of its flights from the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (JMN) International Airport in Bulawayo to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, by adding a double daily service to the schedule. This brings the flights from Bulawayo to Johannesburg to 12 Fastjet flights a week, while Victoria Falls to Johannesburg are 14 flights a week and Harare to Johannesburg are 30 flights a week.
A maiden flight touched down at the JMN international airport on Monday just before 9am and was welcomed by a water cannon salute which is a mark of respect. Senior Government officials led by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Barbra Rwodzi welcomed the flight before embarking on a return flight to OR Tambo where the Minister was the guest hostess of the flight.
Speaking to the guests at the dinner, Minister Rwodzi highlighted the symbiotic relationship between tourism and aviation saying the two were inseparable. “The relationship is symbiotic because one cannot do without the other, they are indeed inseparable. The Air Connectivity from one place to another is the cornerstone and the key enabler which our Zimbabwe tourism industry heavily relies upon as we aim at achieving a US$5 Billion Tourism Economy by 2025. On average 45 percent of our annual visitors from the African continent come from South Africa and this therefore means with this additional frequency, we are most likely to receive an increased inflow of tourists into the country through the Fast Jet flights.”
“However, this means more work for us as a Ministry of Tourism on our mandate to develop all tourism destinations in and around Bulawayo to become more and more attractive to tourists for this route to be sustainable, and i am happy to announce that Bulawayo and Masvingo are the two cities alongside with Matopos National Park we are targeting to put more effort on development within our strategy as they are the best destinations where our culture and heritage is significantly bestowed,” said Minister Rwodzi.
Earlier in March this year, the company introduced new domestic routes from Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to Kariba and Hwange National Park as part of its expansion projects. The development is testimony that the Government’s commitment to implement the Open Skies Policy continues to bear fruit.
This comes after earlier this month, South Africa’s low cost airline, FlySafair began its first maiden flights into the Harare from Johannesburg after obtaining all the requisite regulatory approvals. The sector has also witnessed improved infrastructure and flexible policies.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development through the Airport Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) completed the first phase of upgrading the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport into a modern international airport, able to handle over 6 million passengers from the 1.5million passengers handled before the upgrade.
The increase in flight frequency between Bulawayo and Johannesburg is a positive development for the tourism industry in Zimbabwe. The additional flights will make it easier for tourists to visit the country and will also help to boost the economy. The Government’s commitment to implementing the Open Skies Policy is also a positive development, as it will encourage more airlines to operate in Zimbabwe.