Air Zimbabwe suspended operations on 02-Jul-2012 following the grounding of its single Boeing 737 for maintenance checks, according to a Radio VOP report. Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls services were resumed in May-2012 after their suspension in Feb-2012 due to debts and industrial action.
Air Zimbabwe suspends operations
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Africa’s ailing national airlines survive on USD2.5 billion of government subsidy. Not sound policy
Africa’s unenviable record of government interference in the continent’s aviation system is demonstrated by no less than nine carriers currently surviving at the behest of their respective governments through a variety of financial support mechanisms collectively worth about USD2.5 billion.
In most cases this support serves only to distort any prospect of a level playing field, preventing privately owned carriers from competing effectively. Nigeria is even taking this a stage further as state support of private carriers is being undermined by a desire to relaunch a government owned national flag carrier. In other cases, such as Uganda, new state-owned airlines are planned to compete with successful privately owned operators in markets that often lack sufficient demand to support them both. Whatever the motives, and many of them are questionable at best, the outcome is sadly predictable.
In most cases Africa’s national carriers suffer at the hands of government mismanagement and interference, key among them is the continent’s largest airline, South African Airways (SAA) which is the subject of the biggest turnaround plan currently under way. This could offer a vital precedent if it succeeds - and if it doesn't.
Air Zimbabwe prepares to rebuild its regional network and relaunch London services
Air Zimbabwe is about to move into the next phase of its rebuilding programme with the launch of three more regional services and its first long-haul service to London since the carrier was grounded under a mountain of debt in Jan-2012.
The Zimbabwe flag carrier plans to commence regional services from its Harare hub to Lusaka, Zambia and Lilongwe, Malawi, as well as to Durban, South Africa in Oct-2013. This will be followed by the resumption of service to London Gatwick in Nov-2013 with refurbished 767-200s.
Air Zimbabwe relaunched in Nov-2012, operating Harare to Johannesburg followed by domestic services from Harare to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls in Apr-2013. As part of a recovery plan the workforce has been cut from over 1,000 to about 300 and fares have been slashed as part of a three month campaign to restore public confidence the carrier which previously linked Zimbabwe to its neighbours as well as Europe and Asia.