Struggling state-owned airline, Air Zimbabwe, is to face stiff competition from a private-owned airline to be launched in the country next month.
Air Zimbabwe has been the country’s sole airline for the past years. It has been struggling for survival and recently retrenched 420 workers.
The airline claims it had been severely hit by the global recession that had affected the airline industry all over the world. It is presently struggling under the burden of undercapitalization, a huge debt, poor load factors and foreign currency shortages.
Air Zimbabwe is one of the parastatal companies that were on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) life-support unit during President Robert Mugabe ‘s ZANU-PF regime and it received direct financial support from the government through the central bank under its heavily criticized quasi-fiscal activities, which saw RBZ diverting over US$2 billion to prop up state firms.
The central bank halted all its quasi-fiscal activities as well as funding politically-linked programmes when the inclusive government came into being in February and most parastatals are now struggling on their own.
However, a new local airline, Fly Kumba, is to be launched in Zimbabwe in September. The new airline says its thrust will be on ensuring that flying is both affordable and convenient and is geared to cater for the burgeoning travelling population plying the Harare-Johannesburg and Bulawayo-Johannesburg routes.
Fly Kumba Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd Muchaka, said the airline’s vision and mission was centered on ensuring that flying is affordable to everyone.
“We intend to become Zimbabwe’s preferred low-cost airline, delivering the cheapest air fares with the highest consumer value and offering world-class service to the price sensitive consumer.”
“Fly Kumba intends to fulfill everyone’s dream of flying based on very low fares,” said Machaka.
He added:”The new airline seeks to compliment the tourism service and sees the ongoing efforts to rebrand the country as another opportunity for the airline to play its part in enhancing the image of the country to the outside world.”
The airline’s primary routes will be Harare-Johannesburg and flights would be introduced for other routes such as Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Vic Falls, Johannesburg-Vic Falls and Harare-Kariba.
Fly Kumba says it has acquired a new generation fleet of Boeing 737-200 backed by cutting edge technology and infrastructure to ensure the highest standards in operating efficiency.