AIR Zimbabwe has reduced fares for its local and regional flights by as much as 60 percent, as its steps up efforts to regain the market share it lost during the time it was grounded. A Harare-Bulawayo return ticket is down from US$300 to US$105 while the Harare-Victoria Falls ticket is now US$180, down from US$421. A return ticket for the Harare
Johannesburg route is now US$275 down from US$420.
One-way tickets for Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Fall and Harare-Johannesburg have been reduced to US$61, US$140 and US$150 respectively.
It would now cost much less to fly than to drive to Bulawayo, for instance, where the fuel for a return trip would cost up to almost US$200 against a return air ticket for US$105.
There are also accommodation costs to contend with, as most of the people who take the almost six-hour journey sleep over in Bulawayo and return the following day.
The special airfares will be valid until July 31, this year. The fares come at a time when the national airline, which started flying again in July last year after being grounded for more than a year, is trying to regain the market share it lost during the 14 months it was absent from the skies.
The airline has put in place a number of measures to ensure it offers cost-effective service.
Part of the measures includes the introduction of smaller but more modern equipment to service its regional and domestic routes.
Air Zimbabwe recently introduced a 150-seater fly-by-wire mid-range Airbus A320 on its Johannesburg route.
The Airbus replaced the long-range Boeing 767 Air Zimbabwe used on the route.
Although the A320 is smaller than the Boeing it is more fuel efficient and more suited to servicing the route because it is a mid-range aircraft more suited for the numbers that the airline attracts on the route.
In addition, the airline has also introduced a 50-seater Embracer jet on its domestic routes.
The jet, one of two that will be used on the domestic routes, is also used as a charter plane for groups intending to travel within the country.
In addition, the airline was also preparing for the re-introduction of the milk run, which was a topical issue at the just-ended Indaba in Durban.
This run is an air service that covers Harare, Bulawayo, Hwange, Victoria Falls and Kariba operated by the airline several years ago.