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Emirates lands in Zimbabwe

Flying in the A380 is as close to flying in a private jet as it gets. A wealthy sheik had his private jet serviced at Lasham, where I worked for a while. Having worked around airplanes, I thought I had seen it all, I was so wrong. I had been on the president Mugabe’s converted aircraft which he specifically had trimmed and decked with a bed and all sorts of luxuries. Just to clarify that, I didn’t fly with him, we all just sneaked a peep each time the plane was prepared for a presidential flight. That I thought was extravagance, but it could not even be compared to that private jet at Lasham.  I had never been on a private jet and so one day at work I had the opportunity or misfortune to be assigned to work on that jet. It was a Boeing 727, the Arabs are very safety conscious and often chose to fly in older type aircraft because they had more engines. Modern planes have two engines, but the Arabs prefer four engines.

Everything on the plane was gold and blingful and one could just tell the extravagance that had gone into trimming that aircraft. There was a bedroom and a lounge and bar area, just little a really nice bachelor pad. The carpet was cream with gold woven into it and I was afraid I would mess up the interior as I walked in overhauls and shoes.  Fortunately at the door were special booties that you wore on top of the filthy safety shoes so as not to muck up the carpet. I was told that a square metre of the carpet was worth just about my monthly salary, (an engineer’s salary may I add). My duty on this particular day was to change the water filter in the bathroom, a really messy job that involved unscrewing water pipes and the like, meaning that the bathroom and the whole aircraft could easily get flooded. Long story short, I didn’t particularly enjoy my experience in a private jet.

So thanks to Emirates, we can now enjoy private jet opulence on board an Emirates Airbus 380. No need to wear booties and to shake like Rose who has been invited to Mrs. Bucket’s for tea. No need to splurge on your own private jet, no private jet can compare. Private suits, spas,showers, onboard lounges and onboard entertainment  cannot be compared. This is the way to travel and since Emirates now flies to Harare airport, we now have opulence in our backyard. Unfortunately, it is not the A380 that will fly into Harare, but it will be possible to fly it on the vast Emirates network of routes.

I presume that Emirates has been studying the Zimbabwean market for a long time and has entered Harare at a time when Air Zimbabwe is on its knees with little hope of getting up. Traffic to the Middle East is significant with passengers flying to Dubai, Malaysia and the Middle on business and also to study. Emirates will be flying the Airbus A330-200 plane five times a week into Harare.

Speaking to journalists Nicholas Gauche, Minister of Transport said the arrival of Emirates “is a very significant development for the market. We welcome the entrance of a truly global airline; with an extensive network, large fleet and great reputation for quality service which will greatly improve choice and connectivity for Zimbabwean travelers.” In early January this year it was reported that Goche had ordered regional and international flights by Air Zimbabwe to be suspended, fearing seizure of its remaining aircraft by creditors. Flights to the United Kingdom and South Africa especially, were frozen until such time US$140 million in debts have been paid.

I am sure this is the last stab in the back to keep Air Zimbabwe on its knees for a long time, if not forever. The world is now on our doorstep. I am sure more airlines will follow suit and begin landing at Harare International airport once again.

Categories: General
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