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Zimbabwe budget airline launched.

Last Updated: 5/2/2010 11:58:55 AM

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The Zimbabwe's aviation market gets a boost as new budget airline opens its doors to customers.....

Budget airline for Zimbabwe
Budget airline for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's first budget airline has opened, promising a reliable service and low fares to make flying more affordable to the general public in a country where such travel is the preserve of the elite.Fly Kumba, a small, locally owned air transport operator, began thrice-weekly flights to Johannesburg in South Africa from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city, in March.

Ordinary Zimbabweans have welcomed it and hope it will give them the chance to do something they could only imagine before."Most of us could not even dream of boarding a plane," said Thupeyo Muleya, a businessman who imports used tyres from Namibia for resale. "I didn't know you could fly for so little. You just have this idea that flying is beyond your reach. One of these days I will have my turn."

More than 75 per cent of Zimbabwe's 13 million people live on less than US$1 (Dh3.67) a day, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a consumer rights body. For workers, two thirds of whom are civil servants and earn an average of $160 monthly, flying is simply not an option."When we were growing up we had dreams of flying one day in our lives," said Patrick Chapwanya, Fly Kumba's chief financial officer.

"Fly Kumba wants to meet everyone's dream of flying. Flying must not be elitist – a matter of dreams. "We have identified a workable solution enabling travellers to fly without the burden of costs. Our business thrust is based on the best turnaround time, reliability, cost effectiveness and safety."

The airline is leasing a 108-seat Boeing 737-500 from Air Namibia. It landed at Bulawayo's Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport from Johannesburg in mid-March.

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