Tuesday, April 30, 2013

► ZIMBABWE: New startup, Rainbow Airlines, wants in on the action.

ZimbabweNascent carrier, Rainbow Airlines, is set to join Zimbabwe's growing list of privately backed carriers seeking to exploit the country's under-served and overpriced domestic and regional markets, a Government Gazette published last Friday reports.

Zimbabwe's last viable independent  carrier, ZimbabweExpress
Zimbabwe's last viable independent
carrier, ZimbabweExpress (MOertle)
According to NewsDay, Rainbow Airlines has applied to the country’s aviation licensing board seeking permission to start both domestic and regional flights, though no precise routes have yet been divulged. 
"Notice is hereby given that Rainbow Airlines (Private) Limited, has applied to the Air Services Board for the issue of an Air Services permit to provide commercial scheduled and non-scheduled air services for the carriage of passengers and cargo on local, regional and international routes,” reads the Government Gazette in part.
Source [NewsDay]

Operators like Sol Air (ZS) had planned to launch operations in 2012 using a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-900s with rights being granted for "less profitable" routes like Harare - Kariba - Victoria Falls - Kariba - Harare and Victoria Falls - Buffalo Range - Victoria Falls as well as the routes to Mozambique including: Harare - Beira, Harare - Maputo and Harare - Tete. However, owing to added delays in receiving its Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) certification, the airline has yet to get airborne, with the airline’s financiers and advisers saying the company faces collapse unless it secures more lucrative domestic and regional routes.
Sol Air MD Nkosilathi Sibanda recently said  his company needs profitable routes like the Harare-Bulawayo and Harare Victoria Falls routes and the Harare – Johannesburg routes to operate sustainably, while developing unproven routes over a period of at least two years.

I can’t make a loss for two years,” said Sibanda during the tourism all stakeholders meeting in September.

In the letter, the Sol Air managing director cites Solenta as one of two airlines that have failed to service domestic routes without the major proven routes.

The most prized routes, Harare - Bulawayo - Victoria Falls and Harare/Victoria Falls - Johannesburg, are generally the preserve of Air Zimbabwe (UM) alone although LCC Fresh Air (Z7) did successfully start flights between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls late last year, but had the misfortune of launching operations on the exact same day that its 49% shareholders, South Africa's 1Time Holdings (T6), went bust.