Air Zim drowns in glut of bad news

HARARE - Flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe, plumbed to new lows on Tuesday after it was banned from flying into Europe over safety concerns.

The latest dose of bad news to hit Air Zim comes as the debt-ridden airline is barely managing to stay afloat, and to keep operating its creaky aircraft — a development which has lately forced its single biggest customer, President Robert Mugabe, to hire private jets.

At the same time, analysts told the Daily News yesterday that the European ban was likely to further complicate Mugabe’s travelling plans to international events there, which are not covered by the current travel restrictions on him.

“Today, the European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of non-European airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

“Following today’s update, a total of 181 airlines are banned from EU skies: 174 airlines certified in 16 States, due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these States.

“The airlines Med-View (Nigeria), Mustique Airways (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Aviation Company Urga (Ukraine) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) were added to the list due to unaddressed safety deficiencies that were detected by the European Aviation Safety Agency during the assessment for a third country operator authorisation,” the EU announced on Tuesday.

Immediately after the ban was announced, Britain followed through with a warning to its citizens, urging them not to use Air Zimbabwe.

“Air Zimbabwe has been refused permission to operate flights to the EU because the airline has been unable to demonstrate that it complies with international air safety standards.

“British government employees travelling to and within Zimbabwe have been advised to use carriers that aren’t subject to the EU operating ban,” the British Embassy said in a travel alert posted on its website.

The badly mismanaged Air Zimbabwe has been battling myriad problems over the years, including failing to service its debt.

The flag carrier is also said to be losing up to $3 million a month, and is saddled with a $300 million declared debt.

The extent of the rot devouring Air Zimbabwe was exposed in March when Mugabe was forced to hire a private jet for his overseas travels, after it emerged that the poorly-performing national carrier had failed to service its planes.

As a result, Mugabe had to lease a private jet from Bahrain, which he used to travel to Singapore and Ghana.

Air Zim’s fleet comprises two Boeing 767s, three 737s, three MA60s and two Airbus A320s. However, only four of those are flying: one airbus, one Boeing 767, one 737 and an MA60.

The national carrier has also over the past three decades struggled to shake-off claims of corruption and ineptitude, which has led to the dismissals of several of its boards and senior managers.

Last month the beleaguered airline was a subject of bad jokes after it was involved in an embarrassing ticketing fiasco which saw it issuing handwritten boarding tickets on its international and domestic routes.

This was despite the global aviation industry moving to electronic ticketing, in line with latest standards approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), whose policy is to ensure airline safety, security and efficiency.

Comments (9)

This is how ZANU destroyed this country bcoz all those pple leading the air liner know anything about this type of industry . So the only thing to change the situation at air zim is to get rid of a bunch of pretenders who pretend to be leading this country . Get rid of zanu and Mugabe and you serve this country from misery .

Diibulaanyika - 18 May 2017

ko chikoore haasati apedza roora here nhai tezvara, ngaabe zvinopera ndege dzitange kugadziriswa nokuti pachivanhu chedu zvinonyadzisa kuti mukuwasha aondonge business ratezvara

chahototo - 18 May 2017

Come on guys, lets get this airline operational and profitable again. Airlines are run successfully worldwide. Let's just get it done!

david taylor - 18 May 2017

ZANU PF is the worst thing that could've happened to this country! The roads are bad, we've no official currency, poor healthcare, second poorest country in Africa, Education is dead. Unbelievable incompetence! Oh Mwari please forgive us for whatever grievous sin we committed as a people to deserve such people as our leaders. The sin of idolatry we confess it to you oh Lord. We've equated a man to you oh Sovereign one. The high praises reserved for you some of us have given it to a mere man. Instead of looking to you we've put our hopes in mere man. Some of them equate this man to your Holy One, the One and Only Son of God... In their eyes he cannot do wrong, despite how bad things are now. We've condemned the innocent and acquitted the guilty. We've saluted thieves and honored evil men, How can we succeeed without your blessing oh Lord? Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.

Guramutunhu - 19 May 2017

That's what happens when a airline which has souls at its mercy every time it takes off is run by a son-in-law, rather than a qualified person.

Sad - 19 May 2017

@Guramatunhu, i feel you

kelly - 19 May 2017

@Guramatunhu, Amen and Amen.

Future - 19 May 2017

Well said Guramatunhu. As long as this rot is not contained its gonna rougher and tougher. I don't know what curse we Zimbos have to deserve such kind of ill treatment from the so called "leaders".The proper word for them would have been "Losers"

Don Dadda - 19 May 2017

With Zanupf with us,kkkkk hakuna company ichasara.i wonder what will happen if it is given another 5 years to rule

Zimbabwe yarwadza - 19 May 2017

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