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Is the end for Air Zimbabwe ?


An Air Zimbabwe’s B767-200ER at London Gatwick with the new livery, in 2010.


New livery, but same problems, the 2011 year was another bad   year for the national flag carrier, both hiten by huge strikes and some conflicts with fuel suppliers. The end is near ?


Zimbabwe seems to be on the recovery path (mainly on the economy side), after more 10 years of economic difficulties and hyperinflation, mainly due to the Robert Mugabe’s redistribution land reform. However, despite the Zimbabwe’s recovery economy, Air Zimbabwe is struggling to keep to fly.


First diffculties arrived in 2003, when the airline struggles to rise fund to pay banks and suppliers. In 2004, IATA (International Air Transport Association) suspends Air Zimbabwe due to unpaids debts. The first effect is that the airline can’t sell tickets in a travel agency, passenegrs can only buy tickets in Air Zimbabwe’s office or on the Air Zimbabwe’s website. It has not a big impact on the flight program, but you can’t tap on some markets, where an airline’s office is not located.


In the same time some majors airlines such as Air France, Austrian, Qantas or British Airways (2008) decide to stop flights to Zimbabwe, due to the low demand.


In 2006, the inflation in Zimbabwe rose to 1000%, the airline inscreases its fares by 500%, to enable to pay fuel, spare parts, and catering. Passengers avoid to fly with Air Zimbabwe, according to some aviation experts, Air Zimbabwe has a poor safety concerns and have to make some savings on the maintenance.


Although boosted by the arrival of new aircraft (MA60s) and the opening of new routes to Asia, the airline still losing money. The Zimbabwe Central Bank says that it can’t “erase” the Air Zimbabwe’s debt, due to lack of currency.


In 2011, the airline is hiten by several strikes due to the non salary payement, more over its aircraft are often grounded in several airports.


All those problems benefit to other airlines, which serve Zimbabwe (South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and soon Emirates), they are taking market share from Air Zimbabwe, which is not a good news for her….


Is Hainan Airlines can save Air Zimbabwe ?


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