#AVIADEV2018 PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE WITH ZIMBABWE’S CAA
Q) Given the investment in the new Victoria Falls International Airport, is CAAZ satisfied with the take up of the new facility by international and domestic airlines?
Are you planning additional investments in other airports such as Bulawayo, Kariba, Masvingo, Hwange, Buffalo Range or Charles Prince among others?
Response: Victoria Falls International Airport has had a substantial growth since its commissioning. Various airlines have commenced services and upgraded equipment flying into the destination. To date we have had SAA upgrade from B738 to an Airbus 330-200, both Ethiopian and Kenya
Airways launched flights from their hubs in East Africa, South African Airlink introduced a service from Cape Town and have upgraded their equipment from an Embraer 135 to an Avro. Our local low cost airline fastjet earlier reintroduced the Victoria Falls – Johannesburg route. It is important to note that Victoria Falls is well linked to most of the regional’s iconic destinations such as Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Windhoek and Johannesburg. The year on year growth for Victoria Falls has been averaging 25% and that is a rather satisfactory growth rate but there still is plenty of room for further growth. We would like Victoria Falls to be directly linked to Europe, Middle East , Americas, the Far East and North and Western Africa among other regions.
Currently we have an on-going Airport Developmental Programme and we are set to commence the U$153 million RG Mugabe International Airport Development Project. Other international and domestic airports are poised to receive similar developmental initiatives.
Q) How has CAAZ marketed the new airport and what is CAAZ doing to attract more airlines to fly into Zimbabwe? And as a follow on, how many airports and aerodromes are managed by CAAZ across Zimbabwe? Are there by the way plans underway to separate the regulatory function of CAAZ from management of airports as seen in many other countries?
Response: CAAZ participates in various global aviation conferences and forums. These platforms allow us to meet face to face with network planners and airline executives on neutral grounds to discuss possible service and present them with the incentive scheme that we are offering and traffic data that would have been prepared
A bill is awaiting the Presidential signing to demerger CAAZ into two separate entities where one will be regulatory and the other commercial. At present CAAZ manages 8 airports but plans are underway to have new facilities in Beit Bridge, Mutare and Gweru. All of these will be greenfield projects.
Q) Recently intense discussions took place on social media about the new proposed Zimbabwe Airlines and it is understood that the first of several B777’s has been flown back to Malaysia. Can you shed some light for the ATCNews.org readers on this unexpected turn of events?
Response: The Government is said to be acquiring B777 aircraft to in a bid to resuscitate long haul operations and complement and compete with the airlines currently plying the Zimbabwe airspace. It is not an overnight feat and time will tell on the progress of the bid.
Q) Along similar lines has Fly Africa also attracted a large number of comments on social media and it is understood that their AOC has been suspended. FlyAfrica has regularly missed to operate scheduled flights and wannabe passengers complain that they have paid for tickets and yet were not uplifted as booked.
How is CAAZ dealing with such issues in the interest of protecting the public, given the history of FlyAfrica Version 1.0 in 2015?
Response: CAAZ on 14 June 2018 suspended FlyAfrica AOC as a result of mandatory safety and security oversight surveillance it conducts on airlines. The suspension provides for actions that require to be attended to, to resume operations. This move was taken in the interest of the travelling public and the airline has been urged to address all reported public complains.
Q) Social media reports speak of another upstart, Sol Air, undergoing the required audits for an AOC? What economic requirements, like capital and ability to sustain operations for at least a year, is CAAZ putting on such upstarts to ensure the airline is not going to run into financial problems?
Response: All domestic airlines that that are successful in securing Air Service Permits and subsequently AOCs do so in terms of the laws and regulations of Zimbabwe as enforced by both the Aeronautical Authority and the CAAZ. Airline start-up operations may fail just as they do in any other business start-up initiative.
Q) fastjet last week confirmed that they were given landing rights for flights between Harare and Bulawayo, a move welcomed by the travelling public.
As a regulator, but also a promoter of air transport, what other domestic routes would you like either fastjet or other airlines serve on a scheduled basis?
Response: As a regulator and promoter of air transport we would want to have all our established airports regularly and reliably serviced by the right sized equipment.
Q) Tourists are these days often travelling with their own personal small drones to take aerial videos and still photographs. Are they allowed to use their UAV’s in Zimbabwe and are your latest air service regulations already covering UAV operations? What formalities must a tourist coming with a UAV observe before being able to legally operate his or her gadget?
Response: The drone regulations are still to be gazetted and are expected soon. The Authority facilitates the importation of drones in anticipation of the promulgation of the regulations. Thus a tourist wishing to import a drone will need to obtain prior authorisation to avoid inconveniences.
Q) As a matter of interest, many airlines landing in Livingstone / Zambia and Victoria Falls / Zimbabwe respectively overfly the falls, doing an aerial Eight to show their passengers the falls. That means that they will have to operate across the airspace of both Zimbabwe and Zambia? Normally that attracts air navigation charges but many readers have in the past asked how this is handled from an administrative stand point.
Response: There is close coordination between the air traffic controllers of the two countries for flights operating within that air space.
Q) Zimbabwe has been generous in the past giving fifth freedom rights to such airlines like RwandAir, allowing them to carry traffic between Harare and Cape Town. What informed you to be so liberal while many other countries rather protect their skies and locally registered airlines?
Response: As you maybe be aware of, Zimbabwe is Open for Business and so are our skies. We have had an Open Skies Policy running for a while and recently we signed up to SAATM and all of this ground work prepares and allows us to be liberal in awarding fifth freedom traffic rights. This is consistent with the provisions of the YD.
Q) How closely is CAAZ working with such other governmental bodies like the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to promote the country abroad? Do you coordinate such missions or financially pool your resources to make the most out of a no doubt limited budget?
Response: Earlier we mentioned that we attend various forums and conferences across the globe. We normally attend them with ZTA and other players in the Aviation and Tourism industry under brand Zimbabwe. This provides us with the characteristics of being a one stop shop for prospective business partners.