'Skittish, spooky, startling Air Zim'

HARARE - Straight to the point; this three-month old column apparently has been adjudicated an unloving, unpatriotic “Air Zimbabwe-basher” (whatever that means), by some sensitive-to-the-touch, self-important and cocky officer at the airline.

The tactless message was relayed to me by the editor after last week’s submission. At the moment, African Aviator is unaware of what the pathetic complaint was meant to achieve.

My sneaky suspicion is that the injudicious and unhelpful protest was generated by Air Zimbabwe “Public Relations”.

Now, by any measure, anywhere in the world, in the sophisticated aviation world or even in the classless “chicken-bus” industry, that mouth-running behaviour is uncouth, poor practice of PR!

Unless the uncivilised desire was to pick a street fight! Now, in thug-brawling, the only rule is, “no rules” and the kick-of-choice is a painful, below the waistline blow!

The Public Relations Society of America, said to be the biggest such formal body in the world, matter-of-factly remarks that the practice of PR incorporates, in the modern day, the critical concepts of “engagement” and “relationship-building.”

Surely, Air Zimbabwe’s strange behaviour of raising the middle finger to this columnist via the editor cannot be the same as “relation-building.” At least, not in the normal, bona fide business industry where winning teams and businesses bend-over backwards (not the other way round!) to win friends and build mutually-beneficial relationships.

Could Air Zimbabwe be so averse to criticism that a fair pointing-out of the obvious gets them sweaty under the collar and other we-shall-not-mention-anatomical-bits? Maybe, just maybe, they were ticklish for even a little praise that has been long-in-coming? Don’t we all love a little pat on the back; even better, a lingering, well-placed smooch? Now-and-then, here-and-there? I’ll corrupt audio from a well-known chocolate ad from the 90s to help the point home; “Hey Air Zim, if you’d like a little praise, why don’t you just say so?”

Unlike Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and other leading-light airliners that win awards for the fun-of-it on the African continent, our dear Air Zimbabwe miss the good-old-days! Or do they? But hey, the SOE surely know what they should do/not do to stay out of the much-bad-press they continually churn.

This columnist wishes he could just oblige Air Zimbabwe, and pacify their long-running itch for some niceness and good headlines, by skilfully massaging their knotted egos and nether regions, just to elicit some release of pent-up, struggling-corporate stress.

If I could, I would feel sorry for Air Zimbabwe and choose, unhelpfully, to see no evil, hear no evil and just said what Air Zimbabwe would just want to hear! But see, I do not write for a docile, farm-bound readership.

The national airline cannot, will not set the agenda for this column, not even the good editor of this class-leading paper “guides” the trajectory of this independent columnist. I can thrust which way I so wish!

Sorry Air Zimbabwe.

The reader feedback influences my short-term and future track. That sophisticated class of persons includes pilots, engineers, bona fide aviation administrators etc, that usually respectfully engage me. I pen this column for a paper that tells it as it is; without fear, without favour — that — dear Air Zimbabwe is the priceless ethos that plays out continuously at the back of my mind as I pen this.

A make-believe, don’t-offend-anyone rehashed record to satisfy Air Zimbabwe’s ego will not only not happen but would be clearly unhelpful to Air Zim. This columnist, a long-standing Air Zimbabwe customer prays for the day when there will be little or zero bad press by a customer-centred Air Zimbabwe, not one where overpaid, undeserving officials worry about what a columnist factually opines about them.

The local news these days is awash with dirty Air Zimbabwe linen. A whole glut of senior executives has been enduring long days in court for a possible multi-million dollar fleece. That, dear Air Zim PR, is not the dastardly handiwork of a loveless-basher!

The only pity is, valuable space for this week, has been eaten up by this. A scheduled profile of a celebrated female pilot, which would also have been fantastic, delightful news on Air Zimbabwe has been pegged back a week, just because some itchy pants, and blabber mouth would not take it in the chin and live with the criticism.

Last words: A staid, unhelpful, resistant-to-criticism attitude is not for modern-day business. Shame on you Air Zimbabwe for complaining to my editor about the mixed, fair criticism emanating from this column.

Happy landings aviators!

*Maguire (africa.aviator@gmail.com) is a trained pilot who enthusiastically scans the global aviation industry.


Comments (2)

Hey guys, give Air ZHIM a break! They are trying in difficult economic conditions.

Farai - 11 February 2015

I just love your irreverent attitude to the stuffed shirts at Air Zim. They need to wake up and smell the coffee. The world of aviation has moved on whilst they slumber.

Zim aviator in the daispora - 11 February 2015

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