(Last Updated on August 10, 2012 by Editor)
AIR Zimbabwe will resume domestic flights today after striking pilots decided to return to work, a senior official said yesterday.
The airline will fly the Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls routes three times a week, about three months after it indefinitely suspended all flights, acting chief executive Mr Innocent Mavunga said in an interview.
The airline suspended flights in February after workers, including pilots, went on strike over outstanding salaries.
“We do not yet have an indication on when we will resume our regional and international flights,” Mr Mavhunga said. “But for domestic routes, we will be flying on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“We are grateful to pilots who have reconsidered their earlier decision.”
The airline, saddled with a US$140 million debt, is facing operational challenges, compounded by the use of aircraft.
The suspension of flights resulted in a decline in domestic tourism, especially in Victoria Falls.
South African Airways is servicing the Johannesburg-Vic Falls route.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said he hopes Air Zimbabwe would boostt its frequency in future.
“If it happens with consistency, it is better than nothing, although it is not enough,” he told journalists at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo last week.
“We need two flights daily.”
He said the tourism sector was the worst affected by the problems of Airzim.
“While we applaud Airzim for the latest move, we want its problems addressed urgently,” he said. “It was impossible for those who attended the ZITF to visit other places such as Victoria Falls.”
Mr Kaseke said Airzim’s revival was crucial as the country prepared to host the Africa Travel Association and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly next year in Victoria