National carrier Air Zimbabwe has signed an agreement with a Botswana headquartered privately-owned aviation company, Mack Air, to launch a domestic and regional air service.
In a joint statement yesterday, Air Zimbabwe and Mack Air announced the launch of the domestic and regional air service called “Flame Lily Hoppa”.
“Mack Air and Air Zimbabwe signed an agreement for the launch of the ‘Flame Lily Hoppa’ domestic and regional air service in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 4th of July 2019,” reads part of the statement.
“The agreement outlines an integrated and synergistic operational and commercial partnership between the two airlines.
“This agreement includes the imminent launch of daily domestic scheduled air service between Victoria Falls, Harare and the major tourist destinations including Hwange, Kariba and Chiredzi.”
In addition the agreement includes services to camps and lodges within the environs of the above-mentioned major tourism hubs on an anticipated per seat basis to service the lodge and camp clientele and drive additional tourism growth in the mentioned critical areas.
The agreement also includes the launch of a daily regional scheduled air service between Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.
“These flights will initially focus on leveraging the historic tourism links between Zimbabwe and Botswana, obvious geographic positioning and thereby ensuring the inauguration of additional tourism circuit products by operators and using a platform of integrated flights, services and links provided on the Flame Lily Hoppa,” reads the statement.
Under the arrangement, flights will be operated using a blend of brand new Cessna Grand Caravan EX operated by Mack Air and Embraer 145 jet aircraft from Air Zimbabwe.
For the past 25 years, Mack Air has been operating almost exclusively servicing the tourism industry in Botswana within the Okavango, Kalahari and surrounding areas.
The aviation company operates a fleet of in excess of 24 aircraft and has in the past 18 months acquired 17 brand new Cessna Grand Cravan Ex aircraft as well as a Citation M2 Jet to support additional operations within the region.
Recently, Air Zimbabwe took delivery of its first Embraer 145 aircraft and this paper is reliably informed that the aircraft is still undergoing registration procedures before it starts operating.
The aircraft was acquired to support additional tourism arrivals in the country and the subsequent launch of the Flame Lily Hoppa service.
The two airlines have also committed to supporting and spearheading the upgrade of Kariba and Hwange airports, alongside and in co-operation with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and other key stakeholders.
It is believed that this would ensure the complete suitability of facilities for the region becoming a world class safari and recreational destination.
“Engagement has been initiated with international, regional and domestic tourism industry in order to ensure that all stakeholder interests are efficiently and effectively serviced.
“Additional announcements will be made in the coming weeks as these discussions further mature and crystallise,” reads the statement.
Air Zimbabwe has in recent years been working at restructuring operations to provide an operating platform required to support the significant investment that has taken place in the past two years. The Chronicle