Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
BUDGET airline, Fastjet, says it has increased its flight frequency by adding Friday flights between Harare and Victoria Falls as it forges ahead to improve convenience to travellers.
The airline posted on its website that it was now offering flights to and from the resort town on Fridays.
“We’ve increased our flight frequency, adding new Friday afternoon flights between Harare and Victoria Falls. Now you can choose to depart Harare at 1615 every Friday, arriving in Victoria Falls at 1725 — ideal for a laid-back dinner to start your weekend in style. Alternatively, you can depart Victoria Falls at 1750, arriving in Harare at 1855,” read the announcement.
Over the years there have been no evening flights departing Harare to Victoria Falls.
Employers Association for Tour and Safari Operators president Mr Clement Mukwasi said the increase in flight frequency by Fastjet was a welcome development, which was likely to culminate in increased domestic tourism.
“The increase in flight frequency by Fastjet has come at the right time, at a period we see an increase in domestic tourism as families come to enjoy the Easter festive season. Access to Victoria Falls has of late been a problem and the roads have been not been the safest mode of transport to use of late owing to stray animals, potholes which have surfaced due to the excessive rains as well as reckless driving,” said Mr Mukwasi.
He said the increased flight frequency would play a big part improving domestic tourist arrivals to the resort town.
“If we have more flights it culminates into more domestic tourist arrivals. As you know domestic tourists contributes less than 15 percent of the tourist we handle in Victoria Falls a year. The fees which airlines are charging are now quite affordable and the convenience it brings as well as the safety that comes with travelling on air is second to none,” said Mr Mukwasi.
Fastjet airliner operates 32 flights per week between Harare, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls as well as outside Zimbabwe in Zambia and Tanzania. The Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route was stopped recently.
The airliner recently opened a new customer service centre is situated in Belgravia, Harare, a move which its chief executive officer, Mr Nico Bezuidenhout said the move confirms their commitment to the local market where the airline has
moved more than 125 000 passengers since launching its operations less than two years ago.
The office is manned by consultants who deal with all service related issues such as issuing tickets, handling bookings, changing as well as on-demand service offerings like freight or preferential seat bookings and has embraced plastic money systems.
Fastjet was awarded the African Low Cost Airline of the Year Award at the World Travel Awards in November last year.