Bridget Mananavire 27 May 2017
HARARE – Air Zimbabwe (Air Zim) is struggling to secure a partner, with
the national airline now bearing the brunt of jokes as it suffers several
This comes as the airline’s fleet is almost grounded, while it recently
issued hand-written boarding passes due to challenges.
It was recently blacklisted by the European Union over safety concerns.
Transport minister Joram Gumbo told the Daily News in a telephone
interview on Monday that “there is no partner yet”, despite years of
Early this year, Air Zim chief executive Ripton Muzenda told Parliament’s
Transport portfolio committee that the airline was in talks with two
strategic partners to help resuscitate it by clearing its ballooning $300
million debt. The flag carrier is, however, now reportedly seeking
partnerships with other international airlines instead of a partner to pay
off its debt.
Muzenda also revealed that the flag carrier was working towards gaining
International Air Transport Association (Iata) readmission by May 31 this
Currently, the airline is operating at 40 percent, with a load factor of
42 percent, according to the board and management.
Passengers flying from Victoria Falls to Harare recently clashed with the
crew after they were told to leave their bags behind as they would be too
heavy, according for the flight in a video shared on micro-blogging site
Twitter. Delays have also become part of the airline’s culture with
various flights being cancelled and delayed.
This has infuriated passengers, who now prefer other foreign airlines.
“Flying Air Zimbabwe is such a bad idea. We were supposed to leave
Victoria Falls at 4pm. Was told it’s been moved to 7pm. It’s now 7pm –
haven’t boarded,” Gilbert Makore said on Twitter.
Manfred Chaniwa also wrote on Facebook: “So our beloved Air Zimbabwe was
supposed to leave Jo’burg at 19:00hrs now delayed to past midnight, that’s
if the plane comes!”
Another Twitter user, Serendipity@shimmerella, joked: “They should make it
clear when you purchase an Air Zimbabwe ticket that you are actually
entering a raffle and travel is not guaranteed.”
Marakia Bomani posted on Twitter: “You book Air Zimbabwe because you are
seriously having suicidal thoughts. As simple as that.”