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Off the ground

TOUCH DOWN: Fastjet's first landing in Maun from Victoria Falls
  • Maun-Vic Falls flights up and running

Last Thursday marked the start of a new chapter in Maun as Fastjet touched down in the tourist town for the first time.

The Zimbabwean airliner will make the 55-minute trip to-and-from Victoria Falls four times a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Speaking at the launch, Fastjet chief commercial officer, Vivian Ruwuya explained they saw it fitting to connect Zimbabwe’s tourism capital, Victoria Falls to Maun, a gateway to one of the world’s heritage sites, Okavango Delta.

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Off the ground

“We hope that this new route will be a catalyst in the encouragement of tourism collaboration between Victoria Falls and Maun,” said Ruwuya.

She further called on the tourism industry to continue working with them in keeping Southern African attractions accessible through scheduled and reliable air services.

“Zimbabwe and Botswana are among the few Southern African countries that are landlocked with no access to the seas. Despite being landlocked these two beautiful countries boast of unique water-based tourism attractions in the form of the iconic Okavango Delta and the mighty Victoria Falls.”

“We are looking forward to flying customers into these two countries to explore, Tsodilo, commonly known as the Louvre of the Desert because of its rock art paintings, Chobe National Park, Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve and Makgadikgadi Pans and National Park in Botswana,” continued Ruwuya, adding in Zim, as well as the Falls, tourists can enjoy Gonarezhou National Park, Lake Kariba, Great Zimbabwe and Matopos National monuments.

To ensure the route’s sustainable growth, Fastjet will operate the service using their Embraer ERJ and their partner Cessna Grand Caravan 2088 aircraft.

Off the ground

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Botswana’s Civil Aviation Authority, Dr Bai Mosinyi welcomed Fastjet’s arrival, noting it comes at a time when the aviation sector is making a comeback following the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the tourism sector.

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“It is important for the aviation industry to aim for more as it builds back to where it used to be post Covid,” said Mosinyi, adding that during ‘peak Covid’, traffic in Botswana airports and airspace was down by 96 percent.

Mosinyi further noted that for growth to take place in the regions and the African continent as a whole, the aviation and tourism sector need not only look at international flights, but regional ones such as Fastjet.

“We don’t need only expanding routes, we need to work together, whether it is Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia, that’s really the right approach, the approach we need to encourage,” Mosinyi pointed out.

“Regional growth is what is going to change our region and continent,” he reiterated.

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