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Zimbabwe's air traffic passenger volume sees 13,4% uptick

by Staff reporter
06 Oct 2023 at 06:32hrs | Views
Zimbabwe's air transport sector experienced a notable 13.4 percent increase in passenger volume during the second quarter of this year, reaching a total of 436,022 passengers. This growth can be attributed to various initiatives implemented by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) aimed at attracting foreign airlines to operate in the country. These efforts were in response to the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism industry.

The Zimbabwean government, under President Mnangagwa's leadership, has been actively pursuing a transformation agenda to elevate the country to an upper middle-income status by 2030. Part of this transformation strategy involves the implementation of the 'Open Skies Policy,' which has led to the entry or resumption of operations by several foreign airlines in recent years. Notable airlines include Fastjet, Airlink, Cemair, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, KLM, and Eurowings Discover.

The tourism sector plays a significant role in Zimbabwe's economy, and it was severely impacted by the global travel restrictions and lockdowns imposed in response to the pandemic. However, as countries around the world gradually contained the spread of Covid-19, the Zimbabwean government began to ease restrictions.

According to a recent transport statistics report released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), the second quarter of 2023 witnessed an increase in air transport passengers across all airports compared to the first quarter. The largest airport, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, recorded 293,922 passengers, followed by Victoria Falls International Airport with 93,145 passengers. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo registered 40,471 passengers.

Smaller airports like Buffalo Range and Kariba collectively reported a significant 152 percent increase in air transport passengers during the quarter under review, compared to the preceding quarter. Additionally, all airports saw more flights (excluding military flights) during this period compared to the first quarter of the year.

The volume of air traffic to Victoria Falls, one of the world's natural wonders, increased by 33.2 percent, while Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport saw a 23 percent increase. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport experienced a 17.7 percent growth in flights, while other smaller airports collectively reported a remarkable 134.3 percent improvement in flight numbers.

ZTA's head of corporate affairs, Godfrey Koti, attributed this positive growth in air transport passengers and flights to post-pandemic activities that have seen the country's tourism sector rebound. Notably, tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe during the first six months of the year surged by 50 percent, signaling a strong recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic travel has also increased significantly, with 4.4 million trips recorded in the first six months, aiming to surpass the previous year's figures.

In collaboration with the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, efforts are being made to attract more airlines to the country, including long-haul carriers, as part of the strategies to bolster Zimbabwe's tourism and aviation sectors.

Source - The Herald
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