Blow for tourism as KLM discontinues direct Zimbabwe flights

via Blow for tourism as KLM discontinues direct Zimbabwe flights 30 July 2014

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will discontinue direct flights from Amsterdam to Harare in October in a major blow to efforts to grow tourist arrivals.

In a recent notice, the airline which resumed flights to Zimbabwe in 2012 after 13 years of absence said it would stop operating to Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe) effective October 26, 2014.

“Recent optimisation in KLM’s network portfolio in East Africa led to the decision to discontinue direct services from Amsterdam to Lusaka and Harare,” it said.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi said the decision to discontinue direct flights was a blow to grow tourist arrivals.

Currently, 16 airlines are flying into the country from a peak of 48 in 1999 and there are efforts to lure more and grow the tourism sector that has the potential of earning $5 billion annually by 2020.

“Any withdrawal is a blow to what we are seeking to do in terms luring airlines into the country,” he said.

Mzembi said executives from KLM had been to his office lobbying on the review of the cost structure which he said was inhibiting for an airline.

“In the few meetings that I had with them, they were advocating a revised cost structure meant to give them a soft landing as they inaugurate the flight,” he said.

“Our cost structure—fuel, landing fees and service fees—have a damning impact on operations.”

Mzembi said KLM told him the decision to discontinue flights was purely business and not a political decision.

Mzembi said he lobbied to Cabinet on the revision of the cost structure which culminated in a committee to look into the matter.

He said KLM has been to his office seeking “marketing collaboration between us and them particularly with inbound traffic for Europe”.

The withdrawal of direct flights could work against efforts to market Zimbabwe as a tourism destination.

KLM said connections to Europe, the United States and the rest of the world would remain in combination with KLM’s strategic partner Kenya Airways.

“Kenya Airways offer 14 weekly flights from Harare via Nairobi to your destination, with a chance to experience Kenya Airways newest equipment including the Dreamliner and KLM’s recently updated World Business Class,” the airline said.

Airlines flying to Zimbabwe have raised concern about the high-landing fees charged by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

In 2012, KLM’s executive vice-president marketing Pieter Bootsma said high fees would be a major determinant on whether or not to increase direct flights to Zimbabwe.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 27
  • comment-avatar

    A simple lesson to be learnt here by the zimbabwean zanupf intelectual.When your currency is us$ then you have to be much more efficient (I know this is a strange word to africans)to make your business grow and compete in the world market, not charge what you feel like to afford youselves huge salaries.That damn US$ will be the death of you.Those western imperialist pigs got the better of mugabe and zanupf goons without them even knowing not the so called sanctions.

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    just saying 6 years ago

    Shame on KLM for taking so long to make a ‘business’ decision. They should have left a year ago on ‘moral grounds’ after the flawed elections but then money comes before people.

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    Of course they’re leaving! Everything in Zimbabwe costs too much – it’s because of the corruption. A recent study estimated that between 30-40% of every dollar spent in the country goes to supporting corruption. That’s like borrowing money at 40% interest. It’s almost impossible to get ahead under those circumstances, and Robert Mugabe is the person responsible for it’s genesis and growth… And it has now made the country’s costs un-competitive with the rest of the world. Why should a company invest here if their taxes are 40% higher then in SA, and they have to relinquish 51% of their investment right up front? Fageddaboudit!

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    Angela Wigmore 6 years ago

    The Danes like to pretend that they are ‘humanitarian’ but, when it comes to financial matters, KLM are well aware of normal costs for international flights and will not allow Zimbabwe to rip them off. I don’t like them but I wish other international airlines would follow suite. Air Rhodesia used to be one of the safest and most respected airlines in the world.

    • comment-avatar
      Doris 6 years ago

      Er KLM is Dutch!

      • comment-avatar
        Angela Wigmore 6 years ago

        Okay Doris – sorry for my ignorance but I always think of those Scandivanian countries as the same.To my knowledge they all supported the terrorists during the UDI years.

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    MikeH 6 years ago

    Get rid of the mugabes and zanupf and Zimbabwe will fly !!!

  • comment-avatar

    Angela KLM is a Dutch airline,Netherlands not Scandinavia.

    • comment-avatar
      Angela Wigmore 6 years ago

      Okay Smarty-Pants Lindy Lou (and Doris). Like many people who do not understand the difference in African Countries, I do not understand the difference in Danish, Dutch, Netherlands etc. I thought Danish ie. Denmark was Dutch. Anyhow I really don’t care. All I know is that all those countries supported terrorists against Rhodesia. So stop nit-picking!

      • comment-avatar
        Tinomunamataishe 6 years ago

        Not necessarily, a lot of people who care understand the differences. That is not the point though.

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        I am not the one 6 years ago

        Angela, u r not American by any chance?? ha ha ha

        • comment-avatar

          Was wondering the same!

          What an attitude!

          • comment-avatar
            Angela Wigmore 6 years ago

            Why are there people on this site determined to stir up animosity? Isn’t that what we should be trying to put behind us? And why do you think it amusing to ask if I’m American? I should have thought it perfectly obvious what nationality I am! Perhaps, looking at the time Ngoto posted his comment, he’s had a few too many ‘scuds’!

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    Petal 6 years ago

    KLM has always had a good reputation with giving good customer service i know a lady who travelled on it and never faulted them . The only african airline that had a good reputation was EAA- East African Airlines that was shared between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania but disbanded many years ago . The motto was EAA the holiday way! well the Dutch have seen the light good for them

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    Mlimo 6 years ago

    HeyZimbabwe just won the “EU” tourism award why are KLM stopping their flights? Hell they should be putting more flights on. But I have a suggestion since they are so liberal why don’t they have a flight from Europe to Zimbabwe to Singapore weekly it will be jam packed full all the time. And they can take the air tickets cost out of their loans to Mugabe and his henchmen as they fly around the globe on a never ending basis. And when the loan has been deplete just lend Mugabe some more as is the current case!

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    Roving Eagle 6 years ago

    Instead of trying to get more direct flights into the country they should be making efforts to get more flights from tourists hub like Nairobi, ADDIS, Cape Town directly to Vic Falls.

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    Tinomunamataishe 6 years ago

    This article helps illustrate all that is wrong with the inept and corrupt administration in Harare headed by chief looter Mugabe.

    The minister should have acted when the airline raised the issue that the airport charges are too high. He should have done some comparative analysis to see what the other airports in the region are charging and come up with charges that make Harare airport competitive.

    What do you benefit if the airline pulls out altogether like has happened in this case?

    Its no point tabling this in cabinet when he hasn’t done any work himself, infact he should have been telling the cabinet the proposed lower charges if anything.

    Mzembi should simply resign because the loss of this airline means some people down the line will lose jobs.

    It would have been smarter to lower down the airport fees to make more airlines come to Zimbabwe and as a result of that there is downstream employment that is created in catering, parking, training etc and this is very much needed in a country of such high unemployment like Zimbabwe.

    If you look at the example of Kuala Lumpur or Stockholm airports their charges are low and as a result they attract so many airlines. This in turn creates so many jobs around the airport and the government will then get money from taxes etc. Not so for Mzembi, he wants to get all the money at source.

    Also airports like Heathrow use off peak and peak, night/day rates in order to make sure their charges are competitive which I doubt Harare uses.

    This is just one example of botching and total lack of common sense on the part of the Zim government but unfortunately its repeated again and again in so many other areas and as a result we have the total decay and collapse that we now have in the economy. What is true though is that this cabinet only cares if there is a chance of corruption because that is their driving force – to further enrich themselves.

  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 6 years ago

    Tino you missed the point one source of looting is more easily controlled than many hence the high taxes.

  • comment-avatar
    Chanisa 6 years ago

    KLM is Dutch Doris, not Danish. You probably hate the wrong people.

  • comment-avatar
    Macemike 6 years ago

    It’s obvious!!

  • comment-avatar
    JRR56 6 years ago

    Simple really. KLM/Air France (same company) own Kenya Airways. It makes more sense for them to use Nairobi and Johanneburg as hubs and then have Kenya airweays ferry the passengers to Harare. Harare and Lusaka have become like Blantye/Lilongwe as major destinations for airlines. Thank the political masters who took the bigger economies of Africa and made then insignificant.

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    roving ambassador. 6 years ago

    I can bet my Zimdollar someone wanted a backhander from KLM for the licence to land at Harare airport and the Dutch did not fall for it.

    • comment-avatar
      Petal 6 years ago

      100% Roving Ambassador anything is possible with the thieving morons

  • comment-avatar
    feared by zanupf 6 years ago

    Heard that kaseke shingi mutasa mzembi will soon announce that Malaysia Yemen equatorial guinea flying into the cuntry

  • comment-avatar
    Petal 6 years ago

    amazing that they do not have singapore airlines flying in here when the moron at the top uses their hospitals

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    Zeezee 6 years ago

    Fastjet will be flying between Dar es Salaam & Zimbabwe as from this month making easy connections for Emirates, Oman Air, KLM, Swissair, Turkish Airways and all the other African airlines. A fraction of the cost of Kenya Airways!