Ever heard of a flying lion? Guess not. Sounds like a dreadful mammal from Sci-fi movie or a walk down dreamland.
As the court case seeking to establish who killed one of Zimbabwe’s most famous felines named Cecil continues, low-cost airline FastJet has named its latest addition to its fleet after the slain predator.
The killing of Cecil, a 13-year-old, rare, black-maned lion and a an iconic figure at Hwange National Park caused global uproar from animal rights groups despite little knowledge of the lion.
“Our newest addition to our fleet Cecil the Lion (Z-FJE) is taking to the skies today,” the airline announced on its Facebook page recently.
“He’ll be flying to Harare for his final checks, stopping in Egypt on the way, before making his Zimbabwean debut!”
Early this month Fastjet, which received an air service permit (ASP), announced that it had increased the number of flights on its Harare – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania route from four to seven, driven by strong passenger demand.
The emergence of low cost airline on Zimbabwe’s airspace under government’s open sky policy is now seen as an aggressive strategy to woo big airlines to Zimbabwe that left after relations with the West soured over alleged human rights abuses and violations of property rights after the chaotic land reform program. The aviation sector’s plan also seeks boost the country’s tourism sector. Official figures show that the tourism sector is projected to grow by 5.1%, buoyed by aggressive destination marketing efforts.
Thawing relations have seen the western countries, which supply the bulk of tourists to Zimbabwe, relaxing the travel warnings.
The country’s civil aviation sees airlines trebling to 40 in 2018 from the current figures. At peak 34 airlines which include German’s Lufthansa and British Airways both landed in Harare.