BOTSWANA – Air Botswana has announced that it has resumed direct flights from Gaborone to Zimbabwe’s capital Harare and Zambia’s Lusaka, two years after it had stopped them following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air Botswana stopped flights to some countries in April 2020 following the announcement of the coronavirus pandemic, as states took measures to prevent spread of the virus.

The airline will have two weekly direct flights on Fridays and Sundays during the initial phase and will increase to three times weekly as demand builds up, General Manager Agnes Khunwana said in a statement.

“We are pleased about this development. It heralds that travel demand is gradually increasing after the global paralysis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ms Khunwana said.

“We are optimistic that, in due course, the desire to travel will be even stronger and have positioned ourselves to cope with the much-anticipated travel demand both locally and regionally.”

The airline will deploy its Embraer 170 Jet to service this route and some of its regional routes including Gaborone-Cape Town. The timing of the flights also allows connections between Lusaka, Harare and Cape-Town reducing flying hours for customers.

Furthermore, the Jet adds to customer convenience due to its speed, comfort and better catering opportunities.

This brings to eighteen the number of airlines in Zimbabwe. At the beginning of the Second Republic, just three airlines were utilizing the country’s airspace.

The introduction of new aviation companies and returning ones in the market is in line with Government policy of backing away from overregulating the air transport sector, which is a key enabler to economic development.

In April, German airline, Eurowings Discover, flew its maiden flight from Frankfurt to Victoria Falls, becoming the first direct passenger flight between Zimbabwe and Europe since Air Zimbabwe discontinued its flights to London, the United Kingdom, in 2011.

The move is likely to boost tourism with Germans and others in the middle of Europe now having a direct route to the country.

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