KENYA Airways yesterday became the second airline to introduce direct flights in to Victoria Falls after launching its Nairobi-Victoria Falls-Cape Town route. The new route, which is being serviced by an Embraer E190 with a configuration of 12 business class seats and 84 economy class seats, is the airline’s 52nd and it’s second in Zimbabwe after the Nairobi-Harare route where it operates 21 flights weekly.

Kenya Airways will service the new route three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This will see the airline increasing its operations to Cape Town from four, which are serviced via Livingstone, to six.

Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Dr Joram Gumbo said the arrival of Kenya Airways was a further demonstration that Zimbabwe is a safe destination for investment and tourism as enunciated in the Zim-Asset.

“We welcome Kenya Airways on this route. For us, this will ensure increased connectivity for tourists and promote travel to Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe in general.

“Over a period of 20 years, Kenya Airways has demonstrated full confidence in the Zimbabwean market as a viable destination.

“These newly introduced flights by will go a long way in further boosting confidence in our country and easing the travel challenges of tourists and investors from Africa and other parts of the world,” he said.

He also called for synergies among African airlines.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge all African airlines to consider code-sharing arrangements and strategic partnerships to promote the growth of Africa’s Aviation industry,” he said.

Kenya Airways group chief executive and managing director Mbuvi Ngunze said the new route will serve to offer increased connectivity, flexibility and convenience to guests besides boosting the tourism sector in the region.

“In addition to enhancing Africa integration, this new route will provide a boon for Zimbabwe’s tourism industry as it establishes vital links between the majestic Victoria Falls and tourism source markets in our global network.

“The resultant benefit of our wide route network is increased connectivity, flexibility and travelling convenience to visitors from across the world visiting Victoria Falls and onwards to other destinations.

“This new route highlights our strategy to continue ‘Winning in Africa’ which is driven by opening up the region and ensuring our value proposition meets the demands for our customers,” he said.

The launch of the new route is a further boost to the country’s tourism sector and the Civil Aviation Authority’s efforts to lure more airline into the country, particularly Victoria Falls following the refurbishment of the resort town’s airport recently.

The airport was refurbished at a cost of $150 million and is now capable of handling 1,5 million passengers annually and its smooth new runway can accommodate some of the world’s largest aeroplanes.