National  carrier Air Zimbabwe has announced that it has introduced another promotion – Loyal Travel – set to build on the momentum that was created by the previous “Cruising Altitude Promotion’’ that saw its passenger load factor increasing to more than 90 percent.

Passenger load factor or load factor is a measure of the amount of utilization of the total available capacity of a transport vehicle.

In technical terms PLF is defined as the number of passenger-kilometers traveled as a percentage of the total seat-kilometers available.  Air Zimbabwe spokeswoman Ms Shingai Taruvinga told Sunday News during the Sanganai/Hhlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair in Harare 10-12 Oct that the new promotion would see passengers who  are loyal to the airline being rewarded with free tickets.

“We are saying to our customers if you fly four times with Air Zimbabwe then the fifth one is for free. We are trying to build on the momentum that was created by our Cruising Attitude Promotion which has seen our load factor increasing to around 90 percent,” she said.

Ms Taruvinga said it was gratifying to see more Zimbabweans flying the national carrier and hoped that this new shift will spur the growth of the company.

“This company is for the people of Zimbabwe and we want them to benefit. Flying is no longer a preserve of the rich but for every Zimbabwean. With our rates we still maintain that we are now cheaper than driving,” she said.

Fares, however, have been adjusted but Ms Taruvinga maintains that the adjustments were minor and remain competitive to continue enticing more passengers to fly.

During the Cruising Attitude Promotion the company was charging $105 for Harare to Bulawayo return.  The Harare to Victoria Falls return ticket was set at $180 while the Harare to Johannesburg as well as the Bulawayo to Johannesburg return ticket was $275.

The new fares announced by the company last week will now see the return ticket for the Harare/Bulawayo flight increasing to $150.

The Harare/Johannesburg route will now cost $310 while the Harare/Victoria Falls return ticket now costs $220.

Air Zimbabwe has been on a fire-fighting mission to recapture the market it lost when it stopped flying most of its traditional routes during the economic challenges.

Ms Taruvinga said the company was also getting ready to position itself for the anticipated increase in the number of passengers and would adjust its flights to suit the demand.

“We are very flexible. When there is need to increase flights we will do that. We proved during the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly that we can meet the demands of the nation.

Apart from running our normal flights, we also offered charter planes that took passengers to areas like Great Zimbabwe. We can still do that when the need arises. Alternatively we can deploy the aircraft according to the number of passengers. If there are many customers then we use our big airbuses that can carry many people,” she said.