HARARE— Zimbabwe’s aviation authority said Monday it expects RwandAir to start flying into Harare before year end after successful conclusion of negotiations.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) chief executive David Chawota told Xinhua that negotiations took long to conclude because three countries were involved.
RwandAir was initially expected to start Harare flights in 2014.
“This year we are now pretty confident that RwandAir will be coming into Harare before the end of the year,” Chawota said.
“The talks were not finished because the operations they wanted to embark on required talks between more than one country. It was not just Rwanda- Zimbabwe but Rwanda, Zimbabwe and South Africa so the talks took a little bit longer,” he added.
Chawota said negotiations with Qatar Airways to start Harare flights were ongoing while a South African airline could possibly open a new route linking Victoria Falls and Cape Town.
“There is also a new route that may pop up which may connect Victoria Falls and Cape Town through South African Airlink. They are still looking at the route and considering its viability,” he said.
The aviation authority was also pursuing other airlines including Turkish airlines to boost the number of airlines flying into the country which have declined from 34 at peak in 1997 to about 18 at present, Chawota said.
Zimbabwe has been on a drive to lure back old and new airlines into country after a decade of economic meltdown that ended in 2008 which saw many airlines shunning the route due to depressed business.
Since 2009, the country has welcomed back airlines such as Air Namibia, EgyptAir, LAM Mozambique Airlines, Fastjet of Tanzania.
Air Malawi and Emirates have started flying into Zimbabwe.
Tourism officials contend that the coming of many airlines into the country would boost the tourism sector which is trying to get back to its peak performance in 1999 when 2.2 million visitors came to the country against 1.8 million in 2015.