Five months after Emirates started flying into Harare, another major international airline has confirmed its plans to start flights to Zimbabwe. Two days ago, KLM officially announced that it will start operating a service to Harare on 29 October 2012. It will operate a three weekly service from Amsterdam Airport Schipol to Harare International with an Airbus A330-200. KLM flight KL523 will depart from Amsterdam on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10.20 hrs and arrive in Harare at 21.25 hrs on the same day. The return flight, also KL523, will depart from Harare at 22.30 hrs on the same day with a brief stopover in Lusaka and continue on to Amsterdam to arrive at 10.20 hrs the following morning.
KLM stopped servicing Zimbabwe more thank a decade ago due to the political turmoil. Its return may be sign of increasing confidence in Zimbabwe and what it has to offer. From an operational perspective, the Harare service could be a very viable route seeing as tourist numbers are on the rise. The resumption of KLM flights to Zimbabwe could also aid in the nations economic recovery. From a local perspective, the increase in competition presents the traveling public with more flight options and hopefully more competitive ticket prices.
With the introduction of services from another international carrier and Air Zimbabwe not currently flying internationally, it leaves one wondering if the national carrier will have a space left on international destinations once they get their act together.