The crowd, including travellers and spectators, cheered as the Airbus 330-200 touched down shortly after 4pm. The atmosphere became more ecstatic as the jumbo jet taxied into the terminal through the traditional water cannon salute.The passing of an airplane through the water jets is part of aviation tradition to welcome a new airline into the host country. The airline will ply the Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
At the airport to welcome the new airline into Zimbabwe were Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr David Chawota, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke and several senior Government officials and business leaders.
Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche was part of the passengers on the airline’s final leg from Lusaka, Zambia.
Minister Mzembi said Emirates flights into Zimbabwe will increase the country’s tourism prospects and boost growth.
“Two and half million tourists travelled into the country last year and we are projecting a growth of five million visitors into Zimbabwe, generating US$5 billion and contributing 15 percent of the GDP by 2015,” he said.
He challenged Government through the Transport and Investment Promotion Ministries to open up more channels to promote tourism in Zimbabwe.
Mr Sultan said the Harare route was part of the airline’s 120 destinations in the world.
“The airline seeks to link Harare to the global market and will offer support to key export destinations.”
The Emirates flight departs Dubai in the morning, arriving in Lusaka around 3pm and connects to Harare where it lands at around 5pm.
The return flight departs Harare after two hours and gets to Dubai the following morning.
The Dubai-Harare route is expected to support the import and export of a diverse range of commodities including machinery, textiles, clothing, electronics and pharmaceuticals.
Imports are expected from markets like the United Arab Emirates, South East Asia, the Indian Sub-continent and Europe.
Exports from Zimbabwe will include vegetables, fresh fruits and flowers to Europe, Far East and Australia. Minerals such as platinum and diamonds will be destined for European and Indian markets.
Emirates currently employs 20 specialists in its city and airport offices while there are 87 Zimbabweans working for the airline across the world. – The HeraldPost published in: Business