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Air Zimbabwe wants to return to London

The national airline has been in bad shape for many years. Right now, only one of its plane is still airworthy. Nevertheless, Air Zimbabwe is planning flights to London again.

Allen Watkin/Flickr/CC BY SA 2.0 (bearbeitet)

Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767.

If everything goes according to CEO Joseph Makonise’s plans for Air Zimbabwe, his airline will connect Harare with London next year. There is reason to doubt these plans though, as the national airline of the country in Southern Africa has been in bad shape for years. Since 2017, the airline has been on the European Union’s black list due to safety concerns.

In the years before, Air Zimbabwe had already been creating bad news. Due to high debts and continuing losses, the government has been desperately trying to find an investor for the airline since 2016. The interest of a South African investor last year created more questions than answers – as did the successor airline Zimbabwe Airways, founded by the state in 2017, which is currently seeking an operating license.

Closure due to debt from South Africa

The situation of Air Zimbabwe has not improved – it actually got worse. Last year, the airline was only able to use three of its six aircraft due to safety deficiencies and has since been subject to insolvency conditions. And that was not all: local media report that only one aircraft is still in an airworthy condition.

The reason for this is that the remaining two aircraft no longer meet the requirements of the Zimbabwe Aviation Authority and spare parts are missing. Last October the airline was completely grounded for a short time because the only remaining Boeing 767-200 had to stay on the ground in South Africa. Because Air Zimbabwe could not pay debts to the operator of Johannesburg airport.

European flights to take off in 2020

Airline boss Makonise is confident that the long series of setbacks will come to an end next year. The airline is currently working on re-certification by the International Air Transport Association (Iata). «Once we have received this approval, we are sure that we will start flying to Europe,» says Makonise according to The Herald.

In the fourth quarter of next year, flights to the Old Continent will begin. «We are currently in the process of restructuring and that will help us a lot,” the manager continues. But for Air Zimbabwe to be able to stand on its own two feet, the airline urgently needs new aircraft», says Makonise. So far, there has been a problem with fleet growth.

Successor already troubled before take-off

The airline is currently unable to use an Embraer E145, which it acquired in April, because the aircraft has not yet been certified. The airline is still on the lookout for an investor with whose help the debts amounting to the equivalent of 390 million euros can be repaid.

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