Direct Harare-London Flights Set to Resume Soon


Trending Stories

DT Correspondent

Direct flights between Harare and London are set to resume next month as Fly Phoenix, a Zimbabwean-owned business venture, is in the process of obtaining all the necessary approvals and clearance from aviation authorities.

This highly anticipated service will utilise the spacious Airbus 330-200 aircraft, capable of accommodating over 300 passengers, and is expected to alleviate the inconvenience caused by multiple layovers.

In an exclusive interview with Digital Telegraph Zw, Fly Phoenix’s chief executive officer Dr Trust Jephius said all the required paperwork was completed and the company will be ready to commence operations as soon as next month.

“Fly Phoenix will start operating its non-stop return flights between London and Harare between the end of May and early June.

“The service will initially operate on a once-a-week rotation, with flights departing from London on a Tuesday evening and arriving in Harare Wednesday morning (9.5hrs flight time).

“The aircraft will remain in Harare for refuelling and depart on Wednesday evening, arriving in London on Thursday morning.”

Dr Jephius said the selection of the Airbus A330-200 is meant to improve its economic efficiency and spacious seating capacity which is essential for long-haul journeys lasting nine hours or more.

He also said the re-introduction of this crucial air link between Harare and London is expected to bolster trade, tourism, and diplomatic ties between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom and that the new flights would enhance Zimbabwe’s position as a regional aviation hub.

“The introduction of these flights will facilitate swift and efficient travel for both business and leisure purposes, opening up new opportunities for economic growth and fostering international collaboration.

“Harare’s airport has undergone significant transformations, boasting a larger and more aesthetically pleasing infrastructure, which indicates the potential for increased air traffic,” he added.

The direct flight is also expected to improve convenience and provide for passengers from other countries without direct routes to their destinations.

“They can now connect through Harare, enhancing Zimbabwe’s status as a key transit point.”

The Airbus 330-200 will have a maximum capacity of approximately 340 seats, with 30 seats allocated to business class and the remainder to economy class.

Commenting on the regulatory approval, Dr Jephius explained that the company providing the aircraft has obtained the necessary clearances from the aviation authorities of both countries.

“As we are starting small, we are collaborating with various stakeholders, including the airport authorities in both countries and the government.

“However, due to the structure of our company, the entity supplying the aircraft will handle most of the operational matters. They have previously obtained airport clearance in Zimbabwe and have experience in this regard.”

Last year, Air Zimbabwe, the national flag carrier, expressed its intention to lease a long-haul aircraft to service the Harare-London route, which it had discontinued over a decade ago despite its profitability.

In March of the same year, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona informed parliamentarians about Air Zimbabwe’s plans to revive the Harare-London route following the settlement of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) debt.

Zimbabwe had outstanding payments totalling nearly US$144 million owed to various international airlines due to foreign currency shortages hindering the repatriation of ticket sales earnings.

More Articles