Aviation industry optimistic about increased profitability

11 Jun, 2024 - 15:06 0 Views
Aviation industry optimistic about increased profitability

The Sunday News

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

PLAYERS in the aviation sector have expressed optimism about the potential for enhanced profitability in the airline industry following the recent announcement by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projecting strengthened financial performance for airlines in 2024.

This positive outlook is bolstered by the ongoing airport infrastructure development in the country, positioning Zimbabwe to effectively capitalise on this anticipated upturn.

According to IATA’s latest announcement, the projected net profits for airlines in 2024 are expected to reach US$30.5 billion, reflecting a 3.1 percent net profit margin. This represents a notable improvement compared to the estimated net profits of $27.4 billion with a three percent net profit margin in 2023, as previously forecasted by IATA.

This is also an improvement on the $25.7 billion (2.7 percent net profit margin) forecast for 2024 profits that IATA released in December 2023.

Responding to questions from Sunday News, Fastjet Chief Commercial Officer Mrs Vivian Ruwuya said the projections are encouraging and they will remain flexible with their programme as the projections might vary.

“This is encouraging, and it speaks to the travel trend that we have observed in the same period. We are delighted with the airport development in Harare that prepares the country to handle this boom. We remain flexible with our programme given the projections will vary from region to region, as recognized by IATA that SADC is still in recovery,” said Mrs Ruwuya.

She said cognisant of these projections, the country can consider removing visas for other African states to realise the projections.

“African countries have started to remove visas for other African states. This is an area that we have to look into as Zimbabwe to promote intra-Africa trade and tourism. This is an area that the tourism community in Zimbabwe must explore to promote intra-Africa trade and global tourism.

“The free movement of people and services will open our tourism industry to a new market. We also welcome the continued development of airports and other aviation-related infrastructure across the SADC region in anticipation of the growth and readiness for the increase,” said Mrs Ruwuya.

One of the key drivers of the aviation sector in the country is tourism which is expected to enter its peak season and Mrs Ruwuya said they will continue to connect key business and tourism destinations in Zimbabwe and the region to spur the country’s aviation sector.

“Fastjet Zimbabwe, as a leading and proudly Zimbabwean airline, has been at the forefront of enhancing connectivity, making us the home choice for travellers in the region. On the Bulawayo to Johannesburg route, we are now offering up to 12 flights a week between these two key cities.

“Victoria Falls remains an incredibly popular destination for our travellers. To ensure an exceptional experience, we frequently review and adjust the frequencies of flights from Harare, Johannesburg, and Kruger Mpumalanga, especially during peak tourism seasons, to meet the soaring demand and provide unmatched access to this world-renowned resort city,” said Mrs Ruwuya.

Meanwhile, Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) Public Relations and Communications Manager, Mr Tonderai Mangombe said the ACZ recognises the remarkable growth in the aviation sector, especially within the African continent and this surge in aviation activities has prompted ACZ to embark on a comprehensive infrastructure development campaign aimed at enhancing the capacity and efficiency of its airports.

“A prime example of this initiative is the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport development project, which is set to significantly upgrade the airport’s facilities and services to meet the increasing demand. The airport capacity has been increased from 2.5 million to 6 million passengers per annum with additional and modern passenger facilitation equipment.

“In addition to this, ACZ is making substantial progress on the Victoria Falls International food uplift project, which is now in its advanced stages. This project is designed to improve the airport’s ability to handle and uplift food supplies, thereby supporting both local and international food logistics,” said Mr Mangombe.

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