Airlink moves into Johannesburg-Victoria Falls route after Comair folds

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Airlink will commence flights departing from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls on 15 August.
Airlink will commence flights departing from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls on 15 August.
  • Airlink will start flying between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls daily from 15 August.
  • Until May, the route was operated by Comair, which has been declared insolvent.
  • Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean tourism industry has been negatively affected by the war in Ukraine.

Airlink has stepped in to plug the void Comair left on the flight path between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is one of southern Africa's prime tourist destinations.

It is a huge drawcard for tourists. South African tourism operators feature the destination as one of their "go-to attractions", which is why the Johannesburg-Victoria route is one of the busiest.

Until May this year, Comair dominated the route through its operation of the British Airways franchise, but after filing for liquidation recently, frequent flights into Victoria Falls from Johannesburg stopped.

Airlink CEO and managing director Rodger Foster said in a statement that the new route would add to existing ones to Zimbabwe.

He said:

This follows approvals by Zimbabwe's and South Africa's aeronautical authorities for the extension of Airlink's already comprehensive services between the two markets to include the route between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls.

Already, Airlink, a private airline which has a regional focus, services routes between Johannesburg and Harare and Bulawayo, respectively. It also operates flights between Cape Town and Victoria Falls.

Foster added that Airlink would operate flights daily, using a 98-seat Embraer E-190 jetliner, "and [flights] are scheduled to conveniently connect with its other services to and from its Johannesburg main base as well as to long-haul flights provided by Airlink's growing number of global partner airlines".

The flights will seek to start on 15 August, departing from Johannesburg at 11:30 and arriving at Victoria Falls at 13:15 daily.

READ | Comair to be liquidated after failing to raise money to fund operations

Zimbabwe's tourism has been gradually improving after a two-year recession caused by Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

However, the war in Ukraine has presented the tourism sector with new uncertainties.

The president of Zimbabwe's Employers Association for Tours and Safari Operators (EATSO), Clement Mukwasi, said Ukraine and Russia were good tourism markets, but since the war, no one from those countries has come to Zimbabwe.

"Most of the people who come to Zimbabwe to do hunting are Russians. They have been our major market, but most of them at the moment, because of the sanctions that were put against Russia, are unable to travel and make payments outside their country.

"Not only are we failing to get tourists from Russia and Ukraine, but all countries that surround these two countries. Polish and Germans have limited travelling," he told journalists during a press briefing.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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