Thursday, 15 January 2015

Air Zim to increase domestic, regional routes

Walter Muchinguri Assistant Business Editor
Air Zimbabwe is aiming to increase its carrying capacity this year through the introduction of new routes and by beefing up its equipment. The airlines’ public relations manager, Mrs Shingai Taruvinga said that their main focus will be on expanding domestic and regional routes. “The reintroduction of the Kariba route has done wonders for the resort town because it’s now bringing in more people and we want to ensure that we link more destinations within the country this year,” she said.
Air Zim to increase domestic, regional routes
Air Zimbabwe is already working on the reintroduction of the Chiredzi route that is set for this year.

“We have a number of routes that we are looking at but I cannot go into detail at the moment because we are still finalizing some issues,” she said.

The expansion of the route network, Mrs Taruvinga said will be aided by the return of the airline’s Airbus that was been serviced in South Africa.

The 150-seater airbus is a modern aircraft that is more suited for the Harare-Johannesburg route because of its size and low fuel consumption.

“We expect the airbus to be back in service within this first quarter of the year,” she said.

The return of the airbus will result in the airline operating the six planes this year, two Boeing 767s, two Boeing 737s and an MA60.

Mrs Taruvinga said that she hoped that their growth strategy, which is linked to the expectations of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, will be aided by a reduction in the cost of fuel given that oil prices declined by about 50 percent last year and are still falling with OPEC insisting that it will not cut supplies.

Fuel is the single biggest costs for airline across the world and a reduction in the price will augur well for most airlines.

Turning to the airline’s performance during the just ended year, Mrs Taruvinga said the airline faired well especially on the regional routes where it won the best regional airline award from the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agencies.

“This was a huge vote of confidence for us because we were competing against South African airlines and Comair,” she said.

On the safety front, the airline managed to satisfy all the stringent IATA Operational Safety Audit.

The airline’s acting chief executive Mr Edmund Makona recently said the airline’s turnaround strategy will focus on sweating available assets while also ensuring safety at all times. Herald
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