South Africa-based PAKAfrica Aviation has reportedly acquired a 49% stake in Zimbabwe's Central Air Transport Services (ZO) and intends to use the acquisition, in conjunction with a proposed ZAR15million (USD1.5million) buy out of defunct South African LCC, 1time (T6), to establish a regional hub out of Harare.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Fresh from the recent arrival and deployment into active service of its Airbus A320-200 (MCN 630 | Z-WPM) on its Harare - Johannesburg flights, Air Zimbabwe (UM) has now taken delivery of its first of two Embraer ERJ135 (Reg ?).
Saturday, April 13, 2013
■ ZIMBABWE: Construction of new airside infrastructure at Victoria Falls Airport goes ahead as Bulawayo's nears completion.
Work on the upgrading of airside infrastructure at Victoria Falls International Airport in Zimbabwe has finally gotten under way following a ground-breaking ceremony held in the resort town on Friday, attended by Zimbabwean government dignitaries. The contractor for the USD150million project, to be financed under a China ExIm Bank loan, has been identified as China Jiangsu International Group (CJIG).
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Following on from our previous bulletin yesterday, Air Zimbabwe's (UM) planned route expansion and fleet utilization plans have been unveiled. AirlineRoute writes that as per the 06MAR13 GDS timetable and inventory display, as well as OAG Schedules iNet, Air Zimbabwe’s planned Northern Summer 2013 operation are as follows, effective 31MAR13. Amongst the routes being introduced are Bulawayo - Victoria Falls, and tentatively Harare - Lagos - Accra - Harare and Harare - London Gatwick. No mention has been made of the Embraer ERJ135s.
Monday, December 3, 2012
► ZIMBABWE: Air Zimbabwe to launch further regional ops shortly as Minister dismisses any KLM partnership as a "dream".
Troubled Zimbabwean national carrier Air Zimbabwe (UM) has announced further route developments and equipment changes as it looks to resume international operations in the new year.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
As reported previously by The African Aviation Tribune, Air Zimbabwe(UM), the on/off Zimbabwean national airline, has confirmed its intended return to service in a news conference held last night in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Zimbabwean aviation blog, Harare Airport Blogger, reports that private Zimbabwean start-up LCC, FreshAir, a 51/49 joint venture between Nu.Com (Pvt) Ltd of Zimbabwe and 1Time Holdings Ltd of South Africa, has unveiled its logo and has begun to advertise for routes between Harare, Bulawayo, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls with flights costing from USD50. Its website however - http://www.fly-fresh.com - is still under construction.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Over the last 3 weeks or so, we have been in Zimbabwe for business and had the chance to pay Air Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) a visit to try and try get some updates on the status of Air Zimbabwe (UM) as well as other general info. After all, the interwebs has been filled with vast amounts of speculation and conflicting reports on Air Zimbabwe's status and murky dealings all of which make it very difficult to get an accurate picture of what is really going on there.
This is what we were told by our sources:
- Air Zimbabwe is still flying domestically, albeit using its aging Boeing 737-200Adv fleet to service Harare - Victoria Falls and Harare - Bulawayo. According to our sources, loads have picked up (which is no surprise seeing as there is no other competition on the routes). Harare - Vic Falls costs USD$400 return (lol).
|An AirZim 737 awaiting its flight to Bulawayo (24 June 2012)|
- Air Zimbabwe has indeed received a second A320 as previously reported by us. The two aircraft are now awaiting CAAZ registration before entering service, though where to, is still unknown. Also, the mysterious deal for two Airbus A340-500s that never was, came up quite often. Seems the deal is somehow "still in the offing" (make of that what you will, but we will believe it when we see it) though how much of that is truth and how much is pure BS is anyone's guess.
|Two unknown BAe146s laid up at HRE (possibly Air Zim's)|
- The Air Zimbabwe member we spoke to made reference to the fact that staff have gone without pay for 11 months; UM staff are still in court over the USD$40million still owed to them, so any new deal to get UM back in the skies will first have to overcome this serious problem.
- Solenta Aviation, one of the only private players plying the safari routes, shut down its Zimbabwean operation as of May 2012.
- Harare International Airport is undergoing refurbishment; the main runway and taxiways are being done at the present moment using USD$24million in funds availed by the Ministry of Finance. Bulawayo (Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo) Airport is about to be completed, with Victoria Falls Airport currently a "work in progress".
- No word yet on when SolAir or Phoenix Air will (if ever) take to the skies. Strangely enough, a controversial Chinese mining firm, Anjin Investments, at the centre of a scandal involving Zimbabwean diamonds, has also applied for an airline operator's license.
So there you have it folks. Make of it what you all will, but bear in mind that what a pencil pushing bureaucrat says and what actually happens are usually two completely different things.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Following on from our initial report, Zimbabwean private start up Sol Air (ZS) has now revealed its plans for upcoming routes it intends to serve using a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-900s.
Amongst the cities to be served from its base at Harare International Airport are: Bulawayo, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Tete (Mozambique), Lusaka and Victoria Falls. It also plans to serve Johannesburg - Victoria Falls and Johannesburg - Bulawayo, two routes that are at present serviced exclusively by South African carriers.
|A familiar sight at Harare - empty slots. (William Whaley)|
No further news on how a resurrected Air Zimbabwe has been performing on domestic routes has been made available.
Meanwhile, at a recent conference of the African Travel Association (ATA) held in Victoria Falls, Shingi Munyeza, chief executive officer of hotel and leisure group, African Sun Limited (ASL) told international delegates that there was nothing wrong with African governments regulating domestic air services in order to protect troubled national airlines.
"You need to let in (foreign) airlines but ensure you don't destroy the local airline," Munyeza told the ATA congress. "
African governments have been burnt before where they have opened the skies," said Munyeza.
Once again, this adds to the notion of total discord between official Zimbabwean Government policy and private industry with regards to the serious development of local aviation, as just recently, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi stated:
"We are over-protecting Air Zimbabwe. We all know that government is a signatory to a declaration that promotes an open sky policy. What I wonder is why we have not been able to motivate any new airlines into our airspace?"
Politicking aside, the answer, however, is simple.
As long as Zimbabwe's government is willing to live with the prospect of subsidizing an inefficient millstone of the Air Zimbabwe sort whilst strangling any potential private carriers under the guise of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), then it will only have itself to blame when it finds its tourism and aviation infrastructure both undeveloped and underexploited, because after all, tourism thrives on reputation, and what good to a country is an airline reputed only for late arrivals and shoddy service?
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
It never rains but it pours for ailing Zimbabwean national carrier, Air Zimbabwe (UM). One week, there are reports of its imminent demise and cessation of operations, the next, it pulls a Lazarus and is magically resurrected.
Once again the soap opera that is UM takes another twist with an announcement in the state media to the effect that Air Zimbabwe will restart flights, albeit only be 3x weekly domestically between Harare and Bulawayo, with no mention of equipment in use.
"Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke told the media that the flights would be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“From the 2nd of next month (May) Air Zim will be resuming flights between Harare and Bulawayo,” he said.
“If it happens with consistence(sic) it is better than nothing although it is not enough. We need two flights daily.” Kaseke said the tourism sector was the worst affected by the demise of Air Zim."
This news comes in the wake of an announcement today by local start-up "Sol Air" that it is planning to commence operations in the near future using a leased Bombadier CRJ 900 aircraft.
With the slow demise of Air Zimbabwe, a vast gap has been left in the Zimbabwean domestic market. Aside from South Africa's Solenta Aviation, and a few charter companies flying between Harare and the main tourist/safari areas (Bumi Hills, Hwange Park, Kariba and Victoria Falls) there has not been a regular large-scale service between Zimbabwe's two main cities - Harare and Bulawayo - for quite some time.
However, it was announced recently by Managing Director, Nkosilathi Sibanda, that local start up "Sol Air" has obtained an IATA code (ZS) in addition to an operating licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), awarded in February of this year.
According to it's licence mandate, Sol Air has been designated the Bulawayo-Francistown-Gaborone, Harare-Bulawayo, Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and the Harare-Masvingo-Buffalo Range routes, which Sibanda said, would likely be serviced with a leased Bombardier CRJ 900.
Claiming international financial backing to the tune of USD$3.5 million, Mr Sibanda was also quoted as saying the airline was "in talks with two companies in Dubai and South Africa to lease us three 70-seater aircrafts and the talks will be concluded with a month" (sic).
The question many people want to know is the answer to though, is will this airline survive where so many others have failed? In a market renowned for much talk and little substance, the Zimbabwean domestic airline scene is littered with the corpses of failed airlines like Zimbabwean Express Airlines, flyKumba, Vic-Falls Airways, Expedition Airways, Zambezi Airways and Mid Airlines, all of whom were unable to break the Air Zimbabwe monopoly.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Despite news reports that Air Zimbabwe had effectively been grounded, the airline today issued a statement that it would be providing flights between Harare and Bulawayo for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
Given UM's poor track record with respect to late cancellations, delayed departures and general sloppy customer care, i would honestly be surprised if anyone actually took up this offer.
"Air Zimbabwe says it will provide flights between Harare and Bulawayo to facilitate travel during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) this week.
The national airliner said on Wednesday a plane will depart Harare at 0700 and arrive in Bulawayo at 0745.
In the evening it will depart Bulawayo at 1800 and arrive in Harare at 1845."...