THE government has licenced at least 30 local airlines, but is worried by their failure to begin operations, Transport and Infrastructure Development secretary Munesu Munodawafa has said.
Report by Victoria Mtomba
Munodawafa last week castigated the airlines for failing to meet their end of the bargain after being giving the nod to commence operations.
He said most of his time was consumed by renewing and issuing of licences to domestic players yet there were no positive flying results.
“There are companies that have been allowed to fly, but they failed to do it, even to acquire the planes,” Munodawafa said.
“We don’t have anybody flying locally other than Air Zimbabwe. Some of the players get permits and they start to look for partners.”
Munodawafa said there were some players that had had permits for 10 years, but failed to activate them.
He said there were opportunities for domestic airlines, but capital was the major challenge, adding that the basic requisite when one starts an airline business was to have an aircraft.
He said some of the players that were given licences are Fly Kumba, Fresh Air, Royal Air, Sol Air, among others.
Sol Air was given a licence for the Harare-Kariba-Victoria Falls, and the Victoria Falls-Buffalo range route in February last year, but was still to fly.
In the rush for the local airspace, local companies Beks Safaris, Wilderness Safaris and diamond mining firm, Anjin, have also applied for licences to the Air Services Board for permission to ply various routes in the country and elsewhere.
He said some of the airlines were given permits and they flew for one day and then folded operations.
Turning to the national airline, Munodawafa said Air Zimbabwe was looking for partners for it to operate effectively.
“Air Zimbabwe is looking for potential partners, but some of the partners are limping, so you don’t want to have someone who is limping when you are already limping,” he said.
Air Zimbabwe has a debt of $180 million and workers have been going on for months without salaries.
The country has more than 10 foreign airlines operational that include South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Botswana, Ethiopian Airways, BA Comair, Air Namibia, South African Airlink, TAAG, Emirates and Zambezi Airlines.