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Read on to find out more about the airline and its 2017 turnaround strategy below:
About the airline
Air Zimbabwe is the national flag carrier airline of Zimbabwe. Established in 1967 as Air Rhodesia, the airline commenced flight operations in April 1980, the same year during which the country gained independence. Headquartered at Harare International Airport, the airline today operates regular scheduled passenger flights to 6 domestic and international destinations. As of 2014, the airline has been wholly owned by the Government of Zimbabwe.
As has been the case for most African national carriers, Air Zimbabwe has been a loss making state entity frequently embroiled in scandal. During 2003 and 2004, the airline experienced severe financial challenged amidst the country’s currency hyperinflation crisis. It was briefly suspended by IATA over unpaid debts, and by 2006 it was reported that the airline’s passenger volumes had dropped from 1 million per annum in 199 to less than 25,000 in 2005.
Following years of unprofitability, the airline ceased operations in 2012. By January 2012, it was placed under judicial management. At the time, the airline was operating flights to a network of destinations across Southern Africa. In addition, it also operated flights to Asia and London Gatwick International Airport.
Services to Johannesburg from Harare were resumed again in April 2013, but around 600 of the airline’s staff members were laid off as part of a cost cutting exercise. An additional 200 employees were retrenched in 2017, shortly after the airline had spent $1 billion on acquiring new Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from Malaysia Airlines. The purchase coincided with the rebranding of the airline as Zimbabwe Airways, owned by a new corporate entity.
It is expected that the airline would seek to deploy the new aircraft along the lucrative Harare – London route, yet by mid 2017 this has not yet materialized. A large slice of the Zimbabwean diaspora movement is based in the UK, yet the massive debts accumulated by Air Zimbabwe has meant that the airline was unable to cash in on this lucrative flight route.
The airline reported annual revenues of $36 million during 2016, with a consolidated loss of $15 million.
Inbound tourism in Zimbabwe is seen as a large potential commercial opportunity, along with air traffic from China. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Fastjet, Ethiopian Airlines, SA Airlink, Kenya Airways and startup competitors such as Fly Kumba and Rainbow Airlines have all ramped up their flight capacities to service this route. Flights to Victoria Falls, in particular, is being prioritized by competitors. The completion of the new state of the art airport in Victoria Falls, combined with ongoing investments in hospitality establishments and a massive $18 million entertainment complex is seen to bode very well for future air travel demand to Zimbabwe.
Key flight routes and destinations
As of July 2017, Air Zim, as it is locally known, operates scheduled passenger flights to Johannesburg in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, Kariba, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
Contact Air Zimbabwe in South Africa
Air Zimbabwe Head Office
Postal Address: PO Box AP1 Harare Airport Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: +263 457 5111
Harare Central Reservations
Postal address: PO Box AP1 Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: +263 457 5021
Harare City Town Office
Postal Address: PO Box 1319
Address: Third St/Speke Avenue, Travel Centre Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: + 263 425 1836
Mobile: + 263 712 831 47072
Harare International Airport – Air Zimbabwe flights only
Telephone: + 263 458 202 251
Mobile: +263 712 621 909
Air Zimbabwe Johannesburg International Airport (OR Tambo)
Address: Oliver Tambo Airport Terminal B, Johannesburg, South Africa
Telephone: +27 11 390 3064
Victoria Falls Town Office
Address: Air Zimbabwe Terminal, Livingston Way
Postal address: PO Box 60, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Telephone: + 263 134 431 68
Mobile: + 263 712 212 121
Victoria Falls Airport
Address: Victoria Falls Airport, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Telephone: + 263 134 466 5
Air Zimbabwe Lusaka
Address: Ground Floor, Main Concourse, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport
Telephone: + 260 972 480 443
Official website: www.airzimbabwe.earo – NOT www.airzimbabwe.com, www.flyairzimbabwe.com or www.airzimbabwe.co.za