Air Zimbabwe has shifted its focus to utilising its equipment for special passenger and cargo charter flights at a time when many airlines globally are facing operational challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Firstme Vitori, Air Zimbabwe Spokesperson, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a global impact with airline operations grinding to a complete halt due to travel restrictions and closure of airports, including airspaces for passenger movements except for special repatriations.
“Air Zimbabwe was not spared either as we suspended all domestic and regional passenger flights,” Vitori said.
She added that the airline recently successfully executed one cargo charter of medical equipment and supplies towards the fight against COVID-19 from Beijing to Harare using their B767-200ER.
It is reported that the airline’s marketing team is working to confirm more of such charter flights. The strategy is anticipated to ensure that the national airline generates some revenue to support the resumption of operations post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I must also add that during this period we have managed to successfully complete a scheduled maintenance check (D-Check) on our B737-200 thanks to our experienced team of local engineers,” Vitori said.
It is also reported that the aircraft is going through test flights and assessments until. Final certification for serviceability and airworthiness.
Vitori added that post the COVID-19 pandemic, the aircraft will be deployed to service domestic routes HRE/BUQ/VFA/HRE in the mornings with a second frequency in the evening bringing the much-needed travel convenience to business and tourist day-trippers including schools and other institutions.
It is added that the same aircraft will also link Victoria Falls and Dar es Salaam operated as VFA/HRE/DAR/HRE/VFA on the same day three times weekly.
Vitori said that once travel restrictions have been lifted, the Embraer (ERJ145) will be brought to serviceability and airworthiness including recurrent training for the respective crews. The aircraft will operate HRE/JNB/HRE twice daily, JNB/BUQ/JNB four times a week among other proposed routes.
Proposed additional routes for Air Zimbabwe’s fleet will include Cape Town, Lusaka, Lubumbashi and Kinshasa through to Dubai.