Showing posts with label Sol Air. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sol Air. Show all posts

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.

Friday, June 22, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Air Zimbabwe given 90 day IATA reprieve as CAAZ hypocrisy stifles newcomers.

Air ZimbabweFollowing our report this week on Air Zimbabwe's pending suspension from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for failing to comply with the Association's stringent Operational Safety Audits (IOSA), so IATA has issued a press statement to the effect that Air Zimbabwe has 90 days to comply with the IOSA criteria or risk losing its membership of the Association.

From an outside perspective, it seems like a fairly straight-forward affair - spruce up the MA60s and ageing Boeing 767s & 737s and invite IATA in. Yadayadayada, certificate issued, and problem solved.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that, especially not with quasi-bankrupt Zimbabwean parastatals who may, or may not be operating a fleet of rented Airbus A320s in the hopes of eluding creditors.

Harare Airport, Zimbabwe
A common sight at Harare Airport - nothing. (Bill Whaley)

According to the Zimbabwean Government, yes there is.

What hypocrisy!

And straight, too, from the horse's mouth. 

Air Zimbabwe lacks a current IATA IOSA Audit certificate, yet is allowed to operate; two local indigenous airline's capable of doing the job but are held back because of Government protectionism for an airline that practically does not exist, and that no one seems interesting in flying on, or investing in.

A tragedy indeed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Sol Air reveals planned routes as Government discord continues.

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.

Sol Air Harare
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

► ZIMBABWE: Air Zimbabwe to return to the skies, but only domestically.

Air ZimbabweIt 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.

► ZIMBABWE: Startup "Sol Air" gets IATA code; plans to lease CRJ 900.

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.
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.