Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer David Chaota said the airline had agreed to resume flights to Zimbabwe between March and April next year after negotiations.

British Airways pulled out of Zimbabwe two years ago, citing viability problems, but observers suspected it had been pressured by London, which opposed President Robert Mugabe’s government, to withdraw.

Chaota said the return of the airline would draw more tourists and airlines to Zimbabwe, which has been shunned for years over political instability.

"British Airways will be coming back next year between March and April, and that is why we have hope (of more tourists) in 2010. The coming back of BA may also bring in other airlines," he said.

Until it pulled out in 2007, British Airways had operated in Zimbabwe for close to 100 years.