Source: SAA Airbus A330-200 lands in Vic Falls | The Herald March 2, 2017
Walter Muchinguri recently in VICTORIA FALLS
SOUTH African Airways yesterday introduced its new Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the Johannesburg-Victoria Falls route.
The wide bodied aircraft, with a capacity of 222 passengers, 36 business class and 186 economy class, landed in the resort town around noon with 159 passengers on board and left with 186 passengers.
The aircraft which received the traditional water cannon salute upon landing is the first wide bodied aeroplane to land in the resort town following the rehabilitation of the Victoria Falls airport
SAA country manager for Zimbabwe Ms Winnie Muchanyuka who was elated by the development said the challenge is to ensure that there is sufficient traffic to support the use of the wide bodied aircraft.
“There is a lot of potential in Victoria Falls we see it through the numbers we have been getting. Our capacity on the old equipment that we have been using was 150 but we have already done 186, which is above that capacity we need your support to keep this momentum going.
“We still have an even bigger aircraft an A340-600, which can still fly into Victoria Falls,” she said during a brief ceremony to welcome the new aircraft.
The airline’s inbound flights from Johannesburg are fully booked until March 12.
Responding to e-mailed questions SAA spokesperson Mr Tlali Tlali said the airline, which currently flies daily on the route, will consider increasing its frequencies if there is demand.
“We are always evaluating the demand patterns and will meet the demand by increasing the capacity or by introducing additional frequencies in accordance with the regulations of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA),” he said.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operating officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said that there was need to ensure that about 2 000 rooms available in Victoria Falls are matched by numbers from passengers coming through by air.
“We also need to take note that when someone disembarks from an Airbus A300-200 they expect commensurate service from the hospitality sector,” he said.
In a speech read on his behalf Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe CEO Mr David Chawota said the Victoria Falls was now a game changer following its refurbishment.
“We are happy that SAA has become a pacesetter, we are looking for growth to match our increased capacity,” he said.
The arrival of the Airbus A330-200 is a big boost for Victoria Falls Airport which was refurbished at a cost of $150 million and is now capable of handling around 1,5 million passengers annually and its smooth new runway can accommodate some of the world’s largest aeroplanes.
It also comes a few weeks after Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airways announced that they will introduce direct flights into Victoria Falls from Nairobi and Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Airways which will launch the route on March 26 will use the latest Boeing 737-800 new generation with Sky Interior on the route while Kenya Airways which will launch the route on May 18 will use an Embraer E190 with a configuration of 12 business class seats and 84 economy class seats.
Rainbow Airlines will also launch its Johannesburg-Harare on Sunday.