HARARE (Zimbabwe Investor) – National air carrier Air Zimbabwe is looking to break from it’s financially troubled past and get back to operational viability.
Like most state run firms in developing countries, Air Zimbabwe has struggled to remain commercially viable while serving certain national interests. The last 18 months have seen the airline suspending flights due to cash flow problems. It was reported the airline owed employees up to US$35 million and much more is still owed to international suppliers.
In September 2012 International Air Transport Association (IATA) suspended the airline for failing to comply with global safety standards. Recent restructuring by the government has seen Zimbabwe’s flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe, back in the air again plying domestic and regional routes.
“The turnaround of the national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, is on a firm pedestal,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted President Robert Mugabe as saying.
President Mugabe made the remark recently while opening the current session of the Parliament following his 31 July 2013 election victory.
It was in April this year that the flag carrier resumed day-to-day voyages to neighbouring South Africa.
This came after the airline received a $10 million bailout from the state.
Air Zimbabwe’s domestic journey to Victoria Falls from Johannesburg recommenced in July this year.
Sources at Air Zimbabwe expect the carrier resume flights between Harare and London in November this year.
Up to the close of September this year, the carrier will be extending a 50 percent reduction in tickets to its customers.
However, Air Zimbabwe continues to be constrained by lack of funds an ageing fleet and political uncertainty.
According to WSJ, Air Zimbabwe has six working aircraft, including two brand new rented jets.