Zimbabwe: German airline lands at Vic Falls
GERMAN airline Eurowings Discover flew its maiden flight from Frankfurt to Victoria Falls yesterday, becoming the first direct passenger flight between Zimbabwe and Europe since Air Zimbabwe halted flights to London, UK , in 2011.
The move is likely to boost tourism, with Germans and others in central Europe now having a direct route into the country.
Zimbabwe is one of 24 destinations that Eurowings Discover, a subsidiary of the major German airline Lufthansa, plans to serve in the country this year and Victoria Falls will be its fifth destination in Africa after Mombasa in Kenya, Windhoek in Namibia, Zanzibar in Tanzania and Mauritius. .
The German airline, headquartered in Frankfurt, has a fleet of 10 aircraft and mainly flies to long-haul leisure destinations.
Speaking at the launch of the service in Victoria Falls yesterday, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona applauded Eurowings Discover and the board and management of its parent company, Lufthansa, for their outstanding leadership which allowed them to explore the airspace between Europe and South Africa.
“We are grateful to Eurowings Discover, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Aviation Authority and the entire Zimbabwe aviation industry for the smart collaboration that made this occasion a success.
“We have no doubt that visitors frequenting the Eurocentric Wings will savor the splendid views of the tranquil and refreshing deep blue waters of the Upper Zambezi when they land at this resort.
“The magnificent city of Victoria Falls, coupled with its incredible one of the seven wonders of the world, Mosi-a-Tunya or the ‘smoke that thunders’, welcomes you with openness and generosity. The thundering, cascading waters over the Zambezi Escarpment are not just a natural wonder, but a representation of the love and warmth of the people of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa,” he said.
Minister Mhona said Zimbabweans were delighted that this new scheduled flight had the capacity to improve connectivity from across Europe to Zimbabwe and specifically to the resort town of Victoria Falls.
“This will greatly boost tourism development in Zimbabwe and the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.
“Under the new dispensation led by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr ED Mnangagwa, which seeks to make Zimbabwe an upper-middle-income economy by 2030, air transport plays a vital role in enable this enterprise as it opens and connects markets, facilitates trade and allows industries to connect to global supply chains.
“We therefore hope that, as this new destination will facilitate tourism, cultural and commercial exchanges, economic opportunities will explode in this city and people-to-people trans-Mediterranean relations between our citizens will improve,” he said.
Minister Mhona assured Eurowings Discover as well as other airlines of the Government of Zimbabwe’s continued support.
“There is abundant evidence of the government’s commitment to supporting the airline industry. The launch of this flight today coincided with the rehabilitation and modernization of our airports to accommodate long and wide aircraft such as those whose the Lufthansa group is endowed.
“We are also working on equipment substitution to improve passenger facilitation, modern check-in counters, access control to baggage handling and the installation of modern navigation equipment.
“Air travel, leveraged by robust airport infrastructure as we thrive at our airports, is critical to our country’s economic growth.
“The aesthetic glamor and alluring splendor of airport infrastructure is a guaranteed nectar of tourism leading to other positive aspects such as trade and regional integration. It enhances the movement of people and goods in a more cost effective manner” , Minister Mhona said.
The introduction of new airlines into the market is in line with the government’s policy to move away from over-regulation of the airline industry, which is a key factor in economic development.
The minister said he hoped this would have the net effect of reducing air travel times and improving access to a wider market.
“As Zimbabwe, we believe that increased connectivity between Zimbabwe and other continents such as Europe is mutually beneficial. It is therefore paramount that we continue to improve air connectivity between Zimbabwe and the European continent.
“As a testament to our commitment to the open skies policy, the Government of Zimbabwe has granted fifth freedom traffic rights to non-African states. We hope this will result in improved global connectivity for the country as evidenced today Discover the flight to Victoria Falls via Windhoek today.
“The story of Zimbabwe’s newly bestowed city and tourism capital of Southern Africa, the majestic Victoria Falls, continues to be told from afar, reverberating in the ears of our global citizens.
“Eurowings Discover has automatically become a player in connecting this city to more friends and new business partners. We consider the introduction of air services by Eurowings Discover as a stamp of approval of our tourist destinations; bold move of our government’s ease of doing business and promoting investment policies in line with the country’s mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’,” Minister Mhona said.
The flight also marked a milestone and demonstrated the resilience of the travel industry in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is therefore encouraging to see that against such odds, Eurowings Discover is still standing tall with this demonstration, in which they are expanding their network by opening up new destinations. I have been informed that Zimbabwe is the 5th and final destination of Eurowings Discover in Africa.
“We also attribute this remarkable recovery to growing passenger confidence in current and ongoing Covid-19 prevention and control practices.
“We therefore urge the Zimbabwe Airports Corporation to continue to keep our airports safe by adhering to Covid-19 guidelines. health and our national regulations and administrative precautions to curb the spread of this highly contagious disease,” said Minister Mhona.
He said his ministry will continue to support the aviation industry as it is an essential service that drives economic, social and cultural development through the promotion and facilitation of trade and tourism.
Minister Mhona said that aviation contributes to the national GDP and job creation, thus contributing immensely to the achievement of the objectives of the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025).
The event brought together senior government officials and Eurowings representatives.