By Abdi Ali and TravelWireNews.Com
Published May 3, 2017
Kenya Airways has on May 1, 2017 introduce direct flights from Nairobi to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The new Nairobi-Victoria Falls-Cape Town route route, which is being serviced by an Embraer E190 with a configuration of 12 business class seats and 84 economy class seats, is the airline’s 52nd and its second in Zimbabwe after the Nairobi-Harare route on which it operates 21 flights weekly.
The flight will depart Nairobi at 7:20 AM, arrive in Victoria Falls at 9:30 AM, depart Victoria Falls 10:20 AM and arrive in Cape Town at 1:25 PM.
The return flight will take off from Cape Town International Airport at 2:15 PM, arrive Victoria Falls at 5:10 PM and depart Victoria Falls at 6:00 PM and touch down in Nairobi at 10:00 PM.
Kenya Airways will service the new route three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This will see the airline increasing its operations to Cape Town in South Africa from four, which are serviced via Livingstone in Zambia, to six.
Kenya Airways will be the only carrier offering direct services between Victoria Falls and Cape Town.
This offering will see guests enjoying Victoria Falls from the Zambia side via Livingstone and Zimbabwe side via Victoria Falls.
Joram Gumbo , Zimbabwe’s Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Development, said the arrival of Kenya Airways was a further demonstration that Zimbabwe is a safe destination for investment and tourism as enunciated in the Zim-Asset.
Saying the newly introduced flights would boost confidence in Zimbabwe and ease the travel challenges of tourists and investors from Africa and other parts of the world, Dr Gumbo called for synergies among African airlines.
“I would like to take this opportunity to urge all African airlines to consider code-sharing arrangements and strategic partnerships to promote the growth of Africa’s Aviation industry,” he said.
Mbuvi Ngunze, group chief executive officer and managing director for Kenya Airways, said the new route will offer increased connectivity, flexibility and convenience to guests besides boosting the tourism sector in the region.
“In addition to enhancing Africa integration, this new route will provide a boon for Zimbabwe’s tourism industry as it establishes vital links between the majestic Victoria Falls and tourism source markets in our global network,” Ngunze said.“The resultant benefit of our wide route network is increased connectivity, flexibility and travelling convenience to visitors from across the world visiting Victoria Falls and on-wards to other destinations. This new route highlights our strategy to continue ‘Winning in Africa’ which is driven by opening up the region and ensuring our value proposition meets the demands for our customers.”
The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism says the commencement of Kenya Airways’ flight services to Victoria Falls will increase tourist arrivals in the resort town through enhanced capacity and destination marketing.
Tich Hwingwiri , ZCT president, said the re-development of the airport and subsequent scheduling of services by new airlines would make a major difference to business levels at Zimbabwe’s premier tourist destination, and he looked forward to more international airlines taking up options to fly direct to Victoria Falls.
“The re-development was designed to offer increased capacity throughput, including facilitating use of the airport by wide-bodied aircraft carrying large numbers of passengers, and existing accommodation facilities in Victoria Falls can handle significant increases in arrivals immediately,” he said.
“It is our hope that Victoria Falls will become one of the most important air service destinations in Africa, acting as a stimulus for further development of facilities for leisure and conference travellers.”
He said the creation of direct services to Victoria Falls by Ethiopian Airlines, and now Kenya Airways, was the start of what was hoped to be a steady increase in first-time service by major carriers.
“Existing and long-standing services by South African Airways, British Airways operated by Comair, Air Zimbabwe, fastjet Zimbabwe and Air Namibia continue to be offered and we are grateful to these airlines for the confidence they have shown in the destination over a long period of time,” Hwingwiri said.
The launch of the new route is a further boost to the country’s tourism sector and the Civil Aviation Authority’s efforts to lure more airline into the country, particularly Victoria Falls following the refurbishment of the resort town’s airport recently.
The airport that was refurbished at a cost of US$150 million can handle 1.5 million passengers annually while its smooth new runway can accommodate some of the world’s largest aeroplanes.