Airline news: New commercial airline for Zim & SAA adds 200 seats weekly to Mauritius

Airlink flights

Airline news: New commercial airline for Zim & SAA adds 200 seats weekly to Mauritius

New commercial airline for Zimbabwe

A new commercial airline, Rainbow Airlines, hopes to take off next week with three weekly flights between Harare, Zimbabwe, and Johannesburg, South Africa, using a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ100 aircraft.


Routes from Harare to Cape Town and Victoria Falls are also on the cards.

However, when Tourism Update spoke to the airline, it had yet to confirm its schedule as the Civil Aviation Authority in Zimbabwe still had to sign off on its flight time. The airline expects to operate its flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

CAAZ has granted the airline a licence to operate.


The airline, which has previously attempted to take off without success was granted the go-ahead to operate by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe last month.


According to reports, Rainbow Airlines CE, Ed Berry, said the company had decided to invest in Zimbabwe because the climate was ripe for investment.


The airline has entered into a partnership with South African airline CemAir, which will lease aircraft to Rainbow Airlines and provide technical and maintenance support. Berry said once the airline was established, it would add other routes from Harare such as Nairobi, Lubumbashi, Kinshasa, Beira, Maputo and Durban, and Bulawayo to Johannesburg.

“Rainbow Airlines hopes to become the most preferred airline in Zimbabwe and then in the region.”


SAA adds 200 seats weekly to Mauritius

SAA upped its capacity on its Mauritius service with the introduction of an Airbus A330-200 at the beginning of October.


The aircraft operates flights SA190 and SA191 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, adding 200 seats per week to the route in each direction.


The A330-200 has 186 seats in economy class and 36 lie-flat seats in business class and offers an upgraded in-flight service, from movies and games to music.


Business-class passengers have a laptop power point at each seat and noise-cancelling headphones.


Airlink upgrades fleet


Airlink will acquire five Embraer E-Jets during the first half of this year – three E170s and two E190s. This follows the addition of 11 Embraer ERJ 140s to its fleet since December.

The airline is in the process of replacing its current fleet of 12 Avro RJ85s with the Embraers over the next three years. They will operate its more established routes and also allow Airlink to introduce new routes.

Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink, told Tourism Update that, in the long term, the price of fuel would continue to increase. “We want more fuel-efficient aircraft to take over from where the less-fuel-efficient aircraft need to leave off.”

The E170 will seat 74 passengers and the E190 will seat 98.

Foster says Airlink will require 13 E-Jets to complete its planned growth and modernisation strategy, and is in the process of sourcing the final eight E190s.



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