Air Zimbabwe


Air Zimbabwe

Infobox Airline
airline=Air Zimbabwe
logo=Air Zimbabwe logo.png‎logo_size=225
fleet_size=9 (+3 orders)
destinations=17
IATA=UM
ICAO=AZW
callsign=AIR ZIMBABWE
founded=1967
headquarters=Harare, Zimbabwe
parent=Air Zimbabwe Holdings Private Limited
key_people=Dr Peter Chikumba (CEO)
hubs=Harare International Airport
focus_cities=Luanda, Lusaka
website=http://www.airzimbabwe.aero/

Air Zimbabwe is the national airline of Zimbabwe, based in Harare. It operates services in southern Africa, Asia and to Europe. Its main base is Harare International Airport.Flight International 27 March 2007]

History & Future

The airline was established on 1 September 1967 [ [http://www.airzimbabwe.aero/inside.cfm?pid=2| Air Zimbabwe Website] ] as Air Rhodesia after Central African Airways Corporation was dissolved. It became the short-lived Air Zimbabwe Rhodesia in June 1979 and then Air Zimbabwe in April 1980 when the Republic of Zimbabwe was formed. It began services on 2 April 1980 to London Gatwick. Air Zimbabwe took over the freight airline Affretair in 1983. It is a government owned corporation. The initial fleet of five Boeing 707 sourced from Lufthansa replaced the Boeing 720 aircraft used by Air Rhodesia. These 707s joined the Vickers Viscount fleet, which was added to with the purchase of two Viscounts from the UK operator Dan Air. [ [http://home.iprimus.com.au/rob_rickards/viscounts/history.htm History ] ] . Three Boeing 737 aircraft were ordered from Boeing in the mid 1980s to enhance regional routes. Long haul operations which were the 707s' domain, were gradually phased out in the early to mid 1990s and replaced with two Boeing 767 aircraft. A British Aerospace BAe 146 was added to the fleet from the air force in the 1980s. Leased Fokker 50s were used from 1995 but proved unsuitable to the hot and high conditions and were returned to the lessor. The BAe 146 has been subsequently grounded.

In 2005, the airline lease two MA-60 turboprop from China which were supplemented by a third donated example in 2006 to operate domestic and short regional routes. It was announced in 2006 that the government had ordered 5 Ilyushin Il-96 aircraft from Russia (2 passenger and 3 freight versions) to replace the ageing 767s. However, after talks with Russian authorities, the order was cancelled.

In 2003, it was reported that Air Zimbabwe had been struggling financially and at the mercy of local and international banks. In February 2004, it was reported that Air Zimbabwe had been temporarily suspended by IATA over unpaid debt. In November 2004, a Harare to Beijing service was started. The Beijing service flies twice weekly via Singapore. In April 2006, it was reported that passenger numbers had fallen from 1 million in 1999 to 230,000 in 2005. Acting chief executive Captain Oscar Madombwe blamed the decline on negative publicity about the political and economic situation in the country, safety concerns among travellers which he said were unjustified because the airline had an impeccable safety record, and shortages of hard currency, new equipment and fuel. [ [http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=268839&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__business| Passenger numbers fallingndash Mail & Guardian] 7 April 2006]

In October 2006, prices on Air Zimbabwe flights rose 500% due to inflation increasing to over 1,000%. The Zimbabwean Central Bank said at that time it could not continue to support Air Zimbabwe and other money-losing state companies. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6079120.stm | BBC] 23 October 2006 ] The airline has increased its domestic and international fares between 200% and 500% in an apparent attempt to stay solvent. Prices are reported by the airline to have increased due to the need to pay for fuel, spare parts, and catering with foreign currency, which is in short supply [Airliner World January 2007]

Air Zimbabwe increased the number of flights on its Harare to London Gatwick route in October 2007 to five flights a week. This was in response to British Airways announcement that it would no longer fly directly to Harare. British Airways stated that their decision was due to the poor availability of aviation fuel in Zimbabwe.

Destinations

As of June 2008, Air Zimbabwe operates scheduled passenger flights to the following destinations:

AFRICA

Fleet

The Air Zimbabwe fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of December 2007) :

As of 14 June 2008, the average age of the Air Zimbabwe fleet is 20.2 years ( [http://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Zimbabwe.htm] ).

Frequent Flyer Program

The Rainbow Club is Air Zimbabwe's frequent flyer program. It offers personal and corporate accounts. More details can be seen on their [http://www.airzimbabwe.aero/inside.cfm?pid=14 website]

External links

* [http://www.airzimbabwe.aero/ Air Zimbabwe]
* [http://www.ch-aviation.ch/aircraft.php?search=set&airline=UM&al_op=1 Air Zimbabwe Fleet]

References


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