Up your game, AirZim told

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DISTRESSED national carrier Air Zimbabwe should not be a cry baby and instead change its operating model to cater for the low-end market, a tourism executive has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

The call comes in the wake of the introduction of low cost airlines — fastjet Zimbabwe and flyafrica — that threaten the survival of the national flag carrier.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2016 Tourism Convention held in Victoria Falls last week, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke said Air Zimbabwe should up its game and launch a low cost airline like what was done by fastjet Zimbabwe and flyafrica.

Karikoga Kaseke Karikoga Kaseke

“Air Zimbabwe was crying about these low cost airlines that are coming in. Yes, they are coming in and they are looking for profit. We are saying they should launch their low cost airline with the assistance of the shareholder (government). That is the only way to go for its original operations and then they leave legacy airline to do long haul operations,” Kaseke said.

Last year, the quasi-government institution disclosed that it was seeking $260 million to recapitalise as debt continues to blight the airline’s turnaround strategy.

Kaseke said Air Zimbabwe has a pivotal role to play in the tourism industry and as such it was supposed to be run efficiently.

“Government should know and all should know that it’s a national airline that we should be proud of. But we cannot be proud of it in its current status. At the moment it’s a liability. They must turn it from liability to an asset . . . It needs new equipment and there is no doubt about that, but for it to continue operating lonely it doesn’t make sense. We need to see a situation where we are all behind Air Zimbabwe,” he said.

Low-cost airlines have also prowled on one of the profitable routes — Harare to Johannesburg —that is dominated by South African Airways. This has seen airlines flying on the route introducing promotions to ward off competition.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Air Zimbabwe has a debt of 500m dollars. what they have is manpower and routes. they don’t have planes. what is suggest is to find a partner that would give them planes and in turn they give routes. That partner can be a leasing company or a major airliner and has to manage the new air Zimbabwe. Harare as a hub is better positioned because you can fly non stop from there to any major city in the world thereby linking the rest of the world to Africa. There should be non stop flights everyday to Perth , New York ,Rio , London , Beijing , Dubai , Amsterdam , Istanbul , Dubai , Tel aviv , Kuala lampur. using Boeing 787-9 equipment. Considering you there are over a million Zimbabweans living in SA, PE, CPT , polokwane , JHB and Durban should be flown 3 times daily using dash 8 turbo prop aircraft. Boeing 737s should be flown to several African cities at least once a day to feed into the flights flying overseas.

    • What has “Sky” been smoking? Yes, AirZim has manpower… too much manpower! How can you have 1000s of people working for an airline which consists of only one or two operating aircraft? As for routes, anyone can fly the routes, and the budget airlines are already doing slow. As for AirZim operating a 787… dreaming in technicolor

  2. on the turbo prop issue i very much concur , they are cheaper to maintain and easy on the fuel. i am not a fan of the MA60 but i understand what they were trying to achieve though i think they should have done so with ATR or bombardier aircraft but then maybe sanctions prohibited to do so. There should be over 50 Domestic flights a day using turbo prop planes. From Gweru-Mutare , Harare , byo , masvingo , vic falls , kariba , hwange , chiredzi , masvingo

  3. Spot on Kaseke. Air Zimbabwe should wake up and smell the coffee. Why crying foul yet they have brains and human resources? The other thing, why does Air Zimbabwe is not introducing an airline to Byo-Joburg route?

  4. air zim should be privately held , maybe reasoning will prevail. Byo to JHB or even HRE to CPT daily will be profitable.

  5. airzim should retire those Boeing planes, especially under sanctions were sourcing parts and service components is conducted by middlemen! airzim should go the mozambique(Lam )route, less Boeings but more embraer aircraft. mozambique now runs an impressive fleet of embraer jets and other turbo prop aircraft which have a good load factor and excellent fuel economy now linking all major cities and towns.because considering the status quo of the operating environment this idea of trying to revive Rhodes legendary Boeing fleet or worse still running 787 dreamliner surely that’s dreaming in Technicolor !!

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