Rainbow Airlines ready to fly

HARARE - Rainbow Airlines (Rainbow) says it will commence operations soon following the acquisition of a flight operational permit from South African aviation authorities.

The privately-owned Zimbabwean airline, which had its demo flight in July this year and promised to start operations by August — had its operations dragged down by lack of appropriate papers from the neighbouring country.



Rainbow administration manager Melody Sanhanga yesterday told the businessdaily that while the carrier did not have a date for its maiden flight yet, the storm had passed at Rainbow.

“The thing is we now have our papers from the South African side so things are in place, I cannot give you a date at the moment when we will have our first flight, as we are still working on some things,” she said.

“However, we will be better positioned to give a date next week, as we are still running around doing one or two things,” Sanhanga added.

The permit in question had been crucial to the airline as the carrier’s main route is the Harare-Johannesburg route.

In July, the Rainbow chief executive, Frank Humbe, announced that the carrier was to introduce two flights per day for the Harare-Johannesburg route in August, with a local flight from Harare-Victoria Falls also set to be introduced by January next year.

He said the group also planned to increase frequency of the Johannesburg route, highlighting that the company was currently leasing one plane from South African airline company, Star Cargo.

The Rainbow boss said the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) had granted the company with its flying certificate in February.

Presently, the Harare- Johannesburg route is already being serviced by South African Airways, Air Zimbabwe, Flyafrica and British Airways Comair.

While more and more little-known airlines have been licensed by the authorities, latest government figures show that out of the 30 licensed, none has been operational with some having been registered for 10 years.

Some locally-owned airlines that have struggled to fly after being licensed include Sol Air, Fly Kumba, Fresh Air and Royal Air.

Despite the local aviation industry’s potential, problems continue to affect its growth and foreign airlines are enjoying a bigger market share.

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