ZIMBABWE will take advantage of the presence of about 400 global airline executives at the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) annual general assembly (AGA) scheduled for Victoria Falls in November to market to the world the upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport.
It will be an opportunity for these influential executives to get a feel of the airport which is currently going through a major facelift at a cost of about US$150 million as they fly in for the indaba to be hosted by the national airline, Air Zimbabwe (AirZim).
AirZim assumed the AFRAA presidency in November last year.
The refurbishment is expected to be completed in May, about six months before the annual general assembly, thereby offering a world class gateway into one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has launched an aggressive marketing drive to attract direct long haul aircraft into the resort town after expanding the airport’s runway to four kilometres, from 1,5 kilometres.
On completion, the airport will handle 1,2 million foreign passengers per year and about 500 000 domestic travelers.
Before the expansion, it only handled about 400 000 passengers yearly.
Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development Minister, Joram Gumbo, said Zimbabwe will use AFRAA to demonstrate to the world that the country was ready to abide by its pledge to open its skies to global airlines.
“We cannot have this infrastructure (Victoria Falls International Airport) if we are not prepared to open our skies to other airlines,” said Gumbo.
For those who will be flying in for the assembly, it will be an opportunity to tour the facility, have a feel of its facilities and decide on whether they would launch direct flights into the resort town.
“The benefits to be accrued from the upcoming AGA are varied and for AirZim, we are happy that our flagship role to brand and market Zimbabwe has started,” said AirZim’s public relations manager, Shingi Dhliwayo.
“Our takeoffs and landings daily to the various destinations translate to pushing brand Zimbabwe ahead…and the presidency (of AFRAA) is the culmination of these efforts. We are confident that we are the critical ingredient to the emergence of Zimbabwe and Africa as an economic giant linking Zimbabwe with a world of opportunities and bringing opportunities to Zimbabwe. Our teams are enthused by these developments and come 20 November, Africa will fall in love yet again with Zimbabwe’s most hospitable service,” she said.
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