Air Zimbabwe flies near empty

via AirZim flies near empty – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 16, 2014 by Paidamoyo Muzulu

Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) is struggling to break even on its Harare-Johannesburg-Harare route amid disclosures that one flight on March 29 had less than 30 passengers aboard.

The airline was using a B767-200 ER for its regional flights, which has a capacity of 181 passengers.

“The airline flew nearly empty on its Johannesburg-Harare flight on the night of March 29 with barely 30 passengers on the plane,” a source said.

The airline had three flights on the route on that particular day which had the following passengers: Flight UM364, 19 passengers; Flight UM164, 34 passengers; and Flight UM462 had 121 passengers.

However, AirZim flights and operation director Captain Ed Lance denied that there was a nearly empty flight, but could not give the exact figures.

“The flight had a good load and it’s not looking bad from the statistics before me, it was not that bad,” Lance said.

He referred NewsDay to the general manager (passenger services), a Mukarakate, who was not immediately available for comment.

The airline is currently operating domestic flights and the Harare-Johannesburg route only.

It stopped travelling to London nearly two years ago over debts to service providers.

Transport minister Obert Mpofu recently said that the airline had to transform itself and adopt a sustainable model for its business which included using smaller planes for its domestic and regional flights.

To that end, the airline a fortnight ago posted an advertisement calling for bids from companies that could offer wet/dry leases of smaller planes such as Embraer jets for use on domestic and regional routes.

Embraer jets have a seating capacity for 50 passengers.

AirZim has a complement of 11 planes, but most were grounded for servicing leaving only three operational, a B737 and two B767.

One of the B767s is reserved as the Presidential plane.

The airline has three MA60 planes, which have been grounded for some time now, and two leased Airbus A320, which have remained grounded in South Africa where they went for servicing at the end of last year.


  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 8 years ago

    Zanu’s private airline.Close the damn thing. The Zambians did and they never looked back.

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    Littledorrit 8 years ago

    Shut it down

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    Mlimo 8 years ago

    State of the airline is exactly how the country is run – broken down and full of failure owing massive debts

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    Yes, close it down. There is no confidence in the airline so people would rather fly Comair or SAA as they are more sure of getting to Johannesburg. Restoring confidence is difficult and there is no confidence in anything Zim at the moment. A reflection of our leadership.

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    nyakureva 8 years ago

    another ostrich, what type of manager is running this public entity? what is wrong with saying yes the plane was half full…sorry half empty and then go on to tell the stakeholders, me, what you are doing to get the plane full? really are we still the same Zimbos doing well elsewhere???????????????????

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    easily fooled 8 years ago

    I can tell you that they are inconsistent and disorganised. Go to Jhb international airport today (OR Tambo). Their inquiry desk is closed alternatively there is a lady chatting on whatsapp, laughing loudly to herself like someone insane. Make a call there nobody answers. Infact they are arrongant, and unbusiness like (forgive my diction).

    How can customers beg to fly when infact they are paying for the flight? Its not like seed donations, or grain administered to ZPF card holders. Perhaps the next best move is to havena cio stand at the entrance at Hre Int Airport and arrest all those who use the alternative air companies instead of wupporting Air Zimbabwe

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    Petal 8 years ago


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    MikeH 8 years ago

    No one of sane mind flies with Air Zim … now there’s a thought, perhaps that’s why mugabe uses em !!!

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    munzwa 8 years ago

    Close it down and save some dignity for goodness sake!!I believe they offered some pilots farms in lue of unpaid salaries…robbing Peter to pay Paul!!! Mind you what can you expect when they move a thief from Zim Cricket to head another failing entity?Even if they offered flights for one dollar i would not fly..

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    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    You cannot operate profitable with domestic and regional routes only.The B767-200ER is only economical on long range routes whereby it has chance to reach its altitude and cruising speed.They should close down and only keep the one B767-200ER for the presidential use.
    Zambia did it,so we can do it.