Emirates Airlines made its maiden flight to Harare Wednesday amid pomp and fanfare with the airline set to connect Zimbabweans to more than 100 destinations around the world and boost the country’s recovering tourism industry.
Several cabinet ministers, civil aviation officials and representatives of the airline attended the ceremony which critics said may well spell doom to the financially crippled Air Zimbabwe, which recently suspended some of its regional and international flights in fear of having its planes impounded by creditors.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi told VOA's Gibbs Dube that Emirates Airlines will operate five Zimbabwe flights a week, linking Harare with Zambia, Dubai, Europe, Asia and other international destinations.
Mzembi said the airline is expected to promote tourism in Zimbabwe which is anticipated to generate US$5 billion for the country by 2015.
The minister said the Emirates arrival was a wake up call for the struggling Air Zimbabwe which used to compete with more than 45 airlines that operated in Harare in the 1990s.
Economic analyst Masimba Kuchera observed that Emirates Airlines will help promote economic growth in Zimbabwe.