Air Zimbabwe to settle $2,8 million debt

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AIR Zimbabwe has put in place a payment plan to clear its $2,8 million debt owed to a European navigation agency, which will see the airline resume the Harare-London route early next year.

Business Reporter

The airline, saddled with an estimated debt of $140 million, stopped flying to London last December after fears its planes would be seized over the debt.

Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Shingai Taruvinga told NewsDay the airline had plans in place to gradually increase its frequencies on current routes, while regional and international routes would be introduced in phases.

“The London route will be introduced early next year following the resumption of the Harare-Johannesburg flight,” she said.
The airline resumed fourtimes-a-week flights to Johannesburg after the debt it owed to South African aviation companies was cleared. The economy class air fare is currently on promotion till the end of December at $317 on a route serviced by a Boeing 767-200.

Currently the plane flies on a growing 60% capacity.

However, the airline is still using the manual check-in system as Worldspan has not yet cleared it following its year’s absence even though it had renewed its membership.

Worldspan is a provider of travel technology and content, and a part of the Travelport GDS business. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, noted that it was unfortunate that other airlines had been reaping benefits from the route all along with Zimbabwe getting nothing out of it.

He said now that Air Zimbabwe was flying again, the airline might tap into the lucrative $7 million/week revenue international airlines had been getting.

“From a transport economics point of view, Zimbabwe was economically disadvantaged.

“But now that it (Air Zimbabwe) has started to fly again, some benefits, though not equal, will be realised,” Kaseke said.
He, however, said Air Zimbabwe could expect to regain its share of the market in just three months.

“It will take a minimum of a year provided government is willing to support them financially. Without that, it could be longer,” said Kaseke.

Kaseke said the airline had lost its brand and should implement an intensive marketing strategy.

He added that Air Zimbabwe must capitalise on its record of safety, reliability and customer care to re-establish itself.
“But a lot of work has to be done,” he said.

Taruvinga said the airline would soon reintroduce the Bulawayo-Johannesburg route, which is as lucrative as the Harare-Johannesburg route.

The domestic route load factor is averaging around 80%, while it is full to capacity during weekends. The Harare-Bulawayo-Vic Falls route is serviced by a Boeing 737-200.

8 COMMENTS

  1. “Provided the government is willing to support them”..is this a joke? Why should the government do this when there is a dogged determination by the airline to ensure that it is buried together with the government? How many times has government done this over the years? Government should RUN for its life from this dangerous blood sucking vampire, it should remember the old Shona adage: Tsuro haiponi rutsva kaviri! This government is broke already as it is, bailing out a dead airline will cause a sure contagion and government, or whatever is left of it will be sunk by this thankless predatory bird! And Mr. Kaseke, please get serious, we have entrusted you in helping ensure that the next year’s WTO indaba succeeds..stay very far away from this bird and concentrate on the job at hand! Please.

  2. Safety, Reliability. These are the last things people consider, cause as the industry is. Its all regulation all over. There are a lot of SA Airlink which were involved in accidents but people still use them.

    Our concern is the delays which are associated with this Hiace Airline. You can not use Airzim as a serious person cause, if Mugabe wakes up thinking of going “kwaZvimba” ne ndege. All flights are cancelled. How many people would be willing to go thru this, knowing $35 you can use Elite Buses and arive the following morning. Or you can simply use BA/SAA to be on schedule.

    Stop lying to us, 90% of the 60% are government officials flying for free. There is noway, Air Zvimba-bwe could have reached 60% passenger capacity. For me, i will resume using it after Biti/ Chamisa starts to run it.

    Air Zvimba-bwe’s woes are caused by not keeping schedules, reliability.

  3. I would rather go for a ride on a donkey cart than catch an Air Zimbabwe flight! It’s extremely unreliable , and it’s flight schedules are interfered with by one political party’s senior officials at will!

    • You bet, it will be a lot quicker getting to your destination on a donkey. With Air Zim there is the risk you might not get to your destination. I worked for this airline in the 80’s it was in a mess then, I do not need to tell you what its like now.

  4. Hombarume vaudze zvako iwe. Any airline inogona kuita ma accidents and for the information of those vasina ruzivo rwe aviation, Air Zimbabwe has one of the best safety in Africa, and can beat even some airlines in Asia, Russia South America. David you can ride on your donkey cart while isu tirimudenga. Wait uone uchida usingade Air Zimbabwe is in the skies once more.

    Government officials never fly for free ufunge hako, kusaziva kwako asi dai wati staff seni pamwe and unfortunately there is nothing you can do about that. Even iwewe ukashanda ku ZESA unowana free electricity, NRZ free tickets, medical aid societies free medical care, the list is endless. Ndo ma benefits emumabasawo shasha.

    • Of course any airline that flew nowhere would have a hundred per cent safety record! Sometimes Air Zimbabwe used to fly with 50% staff and their hangers on..why did they not scrap this benefit when things were going awry? Staff also abused free luggage benefits by carrying cargo for their friends and charging them a private fee, ask any body who used to work for the airline they know how much they abused this benefit. The aeroplanes do not speak..it is the management that messed up big time at Air Zim and why anybody in their right senses would want to see the airline do further damage to its comatose self is beyond me. Let this bird rest it has been abused to extinction! Trying to breathe life into it to further torture it is callous and INHUMAN!

  5. Hombarume vaudze zvako iwe. Any airline inogona kuita ma accidents and for the information of those vasina ruzivo rwe aviation, Air Zimbabwe has one of the best safety in Africa, and can beat even some airlines in Asia, Russia South America. David you can ride on your donkey cart while isu tirimudenga. Wait uone uchida usingade Air Zimbabwe is in the skies once more.

    Government officials never fly for free ufunge hako, kusaziva kwako asi dai wati staff seni pamwe and unfortunately there is nothing you can do about that. Even iwewe ukashanda ku ZESA unowana free electricity, NRZ free tickets, medical aid societies free medical care, the list is endless. Ndo ma benefits emumabasawo shasha.

  6. Even if Air Zimbabwe gives me a free ride to and from Johannesburg I will decline the offer. We have no assurances that it will adhere to its timetable etc. Air Zim has a bad record I will feel much better off paying a full fare on another airline and get peace of mind. Air Zim are known to leave its passengers stranded this costs a lot for the fare paying public

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