Regional Airlines are taking advantage of the failure by Air Zimbabwe to service regional routes by increasing their flights into the country.Since the formation of the inclusive Government in February there has been an increase in the number of people visiting the country both for holiday and to scout for business opportunities.
In a statement Air Botswana announced that it has since increased its flights from Gaborone to Harare to three per week.
Prior to this, there were only two flights connecting the two capitals.
“Air Botswana has added Saturdays to Mondays and Wednesdays on its Harare to Gaborone flight schedule,” said the airliner in a statement.
Zimbabwe’s flag carrier has announced plans to cut close to 500 jobs, representing one-third of its workforce, to mitigate financial losses incurred over the past years.
“We have no option other but to right-size or else we are dead,” Air Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Peter Chikumba said early in the month.
The company, with 1,500 employees, has already cut its flights to Dubai, Kinshasa and Luanda, while concentrating on busy routes to South Africa and Zambia.
According to Air Botswana traffic between the countries has been on an increase since the country’s economy started showing signs of recovery.
“Many business people doing business in either country have opted to use the quick and convenient air transport,” the company said.
A 65-member business delegation from Botswana was in the country in April and some members of the delegation have since been to the country to follow up on potential deals.
According to media reports from South Africa, South Africa Airways has increased the number of flights into the country from two to four per week.
It has also been highlighted that the increased regional integration has also meant that there are more people travelling thus there is need to meet the demand.
Saddled with a US$30 million debt, Air Zimbabwe has since asked the Government to sell its stake in the airline in a bid to raise desperately needed cash from private investors.Some of the challenges included undercapitalisation and foreign currency shortages