Stiff competition for Air Zim

air_zimbabweHARARE -- Air Zimbabwe is struggling to attract passengers on its regional and local routes due to the increased competition brought about by new airlines, with reports that it is flying between nine and 15 passengers on a flight that usually carries up to 120 passengers.

Sources told Radio VOP on Wednesday that the airline was struggling to attract business on its Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route and Harare Johannesburg route.??

The situation is far from desirable, we are struggling to attract passengers. We are carrying between nine and 15 passengers on some flights,” said a source who did not want to be named.

“The situation is a bit better if Parliament is in session because we at least get up to 30 passengers most of whom will be parliamentarians. Flying Air Zimbabwe now feels like a charter flight because of the few number of passengers on board, added the source.??

Air Zimbabwe charges up to US$ 400 for return trip to Johannesburg and US$ 200 for a round trip to Victoria Falls, amounts that many Zimbabweans whose average monthly salary is US$ 150 cannot afford.??

Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Peter Chikumba, blamed the reduced numbers to the general state of the Zimbabwean economy. ??

He said, Not many Zimbabweans can afford air travel at the moment and as long as the economic situation does not improve it will be difficult for us. We are currently operating on an overdraft.

Zimbabwes national flag carrier has lost its position as one of the best airlines in Africa due to mismanagement and interference by the government, including by President Robert Mugabe who often grabs planes to fly him on his countless foreign trips leaving passengers stranded.

Starved of cash for re-tooling, Air Zimbabwe uses mostly obsolete technology and equipment while nearly all its planes are between 16 and 20 years old.

In addition, the airline pilots and other skilled staff have deserted the airline to go abroad where salaries are higher and working conditions better.

Post published in: Economy

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