Fastjet Zimbabwe (FN, Harare International) plans to add touristy Kariba and Hwange National Park to its domestic network from Harare International and Victoria Falls in late March 2023, using 30-seater E120 turboprops.

A FastJet Zimbabwe spokesperson said various E120 options were being explored, to be finalised together with regulatory approval of the plans. The airline's current fleet comprises five E145s, ch-aviation fleets data reveals.

The privately-owned carrier wants to offer multiple daily frequencies on each route, timed to line up seamlessly with connections provided by Botswana's Mack Air and Zimbabwean charter carrier South West Aviation (Zimbabwe) into Hwange National Park, the lodges of the Kariba eastern basin, and the camps at Mana Pools and the lower Zambezi.

Mack Air and South West Aviation will develop new hubs at Kariba - a major dam in the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe - and Victoria Falls in 2023 to align with FastJet Zimbabwe's flights, the carriers said in a separate statement.

A fleet of aircraft based in Victoria Falls would service the Hwange and upper Zambezi regions, while the fleet at Kariba would service all Lake Kariba Basin and lower Zambezi destinations.

As previously reported, Mack Air and South West Aviation last month announced a commercial partnership that has seen them join their networks across neighbouring Zimbabwe and Botswana. The partners have stationed a single Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravan EX in Zimbabwe, but want to expand the fleet by March 2023 to add five aircraft, resulting in the partnership operating a fleet of six aircraft from Harare and Victoria Falls for the 2023 summer season.

It is unclear where the partnership in western Zimbabwe leaves startup Kuva Air (Harare International), which remains suspended ostensibly to make structural changes to its fleet and booking system. Between April and October 2022, Kuva Air operated thrice-weekly services from its base at Harare to Victoria Falls and Kariba, with private charters on days in between. It used the Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) of Zimbabwean charter carrier Executive Air (LFL, Harare Charles Prince) and an E120 leased from SOBEC Aviation (Johannesburg O.R. Tambo). Kuva Air co-founder James Saruchera told ch-aviation: "We have been aware of these developments and they are factored into our planning".