Fresh Air to commence flights

HARARE - Newly-launched Zimbabwean budget airline Fresh Air, will finally launch its first flight on November, 2 flying between South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport and Victoria Falls Airport.

The airline’s maiden flight was in August from Johannesburg to Harare and later proceeded to Victoria Falls.

The Zimbabwean-registered low-cost airline recently entered into a joint venture agreement with 1time Airline according to which 1time aircraft will be used to serve the Fresh Air route.

Blacky Komani, 1time chief executive said his company is terminating its current Livingstone flight in favour of flights to be operated by Fresh Air between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls Airport.

“The result is that 1time’s operating cost will remain the same and the benefit to us is that our load factors will be much higher,” said Komani.

1time is currently under business rescue whilst the debt-laden airline finalises a business rescue plan.

The airline has already cut two of its aircraft and is now operating eight aircrafts and is reported to be in debt of around R300 million.

Fresh Air has officially acquired the traffic rights to commence operations and has announced the new route schedule, which as it stands, includes three weekly flights from OR Tambo International Airport.

The airline is also looking at getting licences for more Zimbabwean routes and regional routes within Sadc Komani noted that the route introduction comes at an opportune time for Fresh Air due to the upcoming holiday peak season.

“As South Africa’s busiest holiday season dawns upon us, we have no doubt that our joint venture with Fresh Air will be anything other than successful.

‘‘We also believe that Zimbabwe will benefit by the introduction of a low-cost carrier to help stimulate tourism as well as business trade between the two countries,” said Komani.

Komani said the joint venture began before the airline filed for business rescue and that no additional costs will be incurred.

“Fresh Air’s schedule to Victoria Falls is not an additional route, but rather a route swop between partners.”

FreshAir, 51 percent owned by Nu.Com (Pvt) Ltd of Zimbabwe.

International and regional airlines have been literally scrambling to ply the Zimbabwean route in the absence of Air Zimbabwe.

Earlier this year, Air Namibia launched a Harare-Windhoek route, while Emirates, based in Dubai, has started servicing the Lusaka (Zambia)-Harare route.

KLM is due to start flying to Harare three times a week in October. Air Tanzania is also expected start on a direct route to Zimbabwe before the end of the year. - Business Writer

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