The launch of Lusaka and Harare supports increased demand for trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe and destinations on the Qatar Airways network such as London, Frankfurt and New York and from multiple points in China.
The new service to Lusaka and onwards to Harare is scheduled to be operated with a B787 Dreamliner and with the addition of these two new routes, the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said, “Not only do we continue to rebuild our network after the pandemic, but we are actively expanding it with the addition of these two key destinations. These are the fifth and sixth new destinations in Africa added to our network since the start of the pandemic, taking our total new destinations added across the globe to 10.”
Zimbabwe is desperate to increase flight traffic into the country, which had slowed down over the years due to the economic slowdown.
Air traffic took a worse hit last year as global travel collapsed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, the International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank, said it would provide technical and advisory support towards the Zimbabwe government plan to attract more airlines and flights to Victoria Falls and help the tourism hub recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Eurowings, a unit of Lufthansa, announced on June 16 that it would be adding Victoria Falls to its roster starting June next year.
Global air travel is expected to bounce back in 2023 as countries roll out COVID-19 vaccines and learn to manage the pandemic, according to the International Air Transport Association. IATA predicts that passenger numbers would recover to 52% of pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of this year, reach 88% next year, and surpass pre-COVID-19 levels by 5% in 2023.