Air Zimbabwe, not an airline of much consequence to global travel, or even travel in its region anymore, but the airline knows how to make headlines in places where people probably can’t even tell you the capital of Zimbabwe (it’s Harare by the way).
Over the past year Flying With Fish has written about Air Zimbabwe dodging sanction, having its aircraft repo’d and IATA halting sales of its tickets, having its engines in hock with Lufthansa Technik, and claiming to have purchased a set of Airbus A340s which Airbus refuted followed by the airline stating it never said it purchased a set of Airbus A340s … now as the end of the year draws to a close Air Zimbabwe faces back-to-back woes.
This past Monday, the 12th of December, an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-2N0/ER landed at London’s Gatwick Airport from Harare. Upon arriving at its gate at Gatwick’s North Terminal passengers disembarked as usual, and the aircraft was pushed off the gate to a hardstand, where American General Supplies, following a court order from the British Courts for outstanding debts, impounded the aircraft.
Presently, Air Zimbabwe owes an American General Supplies business partner US$1,200,000 for aircraft spares. The company has sought to negotiate with Air Zimbabwe, and its final resort was having the aircraft impounded.
Following the impounding of Air Zimbabwe’s aircraft, valued at an estimated US$13,000,000, the airline reached out to the Zimbabwe Treasury Department for the US$1.2-million, but was turned down. The airline sought the US$1.2-million to recover its aircraft in time to service its flight the following day back from London to Harare to no avail.
Presently the Air Zimbabwe 767-2N0/ER remains parked at London Gatwick … but this isn’t the end of the airline’s woes for this week …
… following the grounding of an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737-2NO at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport due to Air Zimbabwe owing Bid Air, a ground handling company, US$500,000, the airline has announced today that it is suspending service between Harare and both Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa. Air Zimbabwe’s acting CEO Innocent Mavhunga is quoted as saying “We are not flying into South Africa. We are trying to secure funding to pay our debts in South Africa.”
With Air Zimbabwe’s fleet having shrunk from five aircraft to three aircraft over the past week the sustainability of the airline is virtually nonexistent, however this has been the case for more than a year.
The tiny airline is in debt for more than US$140,000,000 with its youngest aircraft pushing 22 years of age and it is alienating suppliers at airports it flies to left and right.
Can an airline exist on sheer will power alone? I guess we’ll find out.