A UK-based virtual carrier, Fly Phoenix Direct Limited, plans to launch direct charter flights between London and Harare International in Zimbabwe by June, according to its co-founder and CEO, Trust Jephius Chitokomere.

A Zimbabwean-born Briton and medical doctor, Chitokomere told Zimbabwe's Digital Telegraph Zw news site that the company would charter an A330-200 from an undisclosed technical partner, which, he said, had obtained the necessary clearances from aviation authorities of both countries.

"As we are starting small, we are collaborating with various stakeholders, including the airport authorities in both countries and the government. However, due to the structure of our company, the entity supplying the aircraft will handle most of the operational matters. They have previously obtained airport clearance in Zimbabwe and have experience in this regard," he explained, adding that Fly Phoenix would start operating weekly rotations in late May or early June.

The company directors of Fly Phoenix Direct were not available for comment when contacted by ch-aviation.

UK Companies House records show that Fly Phoenix Direct Limited was registered in Accrington on February 5, 2024, with a share capital of GBP1 pound (USD1.25). The nature of the registered business includes scheduled and non-scheduled passenger air transport, air freight, and travel agency activities.

Chitokomere co-owns the company with another Zimbabwean-born Briton, Fortune Huruva, an economist who is the chief operating officer, while David Edwards is named as project manager.

The reintroduction of an air link between Harare and London would strengthen trade, tourism, and diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and the UK and elevate Harare's position as a regional hub, Chitokomere said.

The Zimbabwean government has held longstanding aspirations for Air Zimbabwe (UM, Harare International) to resume direct flights to the United Kingdom, which is home to a sizeable Zimbabwean diaspora. The national carrier's only two international routes at present are to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and Dar es Salaam, according to ch-aviation schedules data.

Fly Phoenix Direct should not be confused with the Zimbabwean-based Phoenix Air (Zimbabwe), which failed to launch in 2012.