AIR Zimbabwe resumed domestic flights Wednesday after stopping operations in January due to a host of problems that included the seizure of planes by restive creditors as well as wage disputes with workers.
The airline temporarily returned to the air last week with flights on the Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls route to service the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), but management said limited domestic services would now continue.
“We will be flying three times a week; that is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” chief executive said Innocent Mavhunga said.
“We will be flying three times between Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. We will gradually increase flights as the market picks up.”
International flights, including the airline’s cash cow Harare-London route, remain suspended.
Air Zimbabwe is battling debts of up to US$140 million and stopped international flights after creditors seized aircraft in South Africa and the United Kingdom last December.
Disputes with key workers such as pilots and engineers who have gone on strike several times over unpaid salaries have also undermined the company’s operations.
But Mavhunga said progress has been made in addressing labour issues, adding he was confident the company would soon resume normal operations.
The government has since unveiled plans to take over the airline’s debt but ministers demanded that the company must drastically cut its bloated workforce of about 1,400 employees.
Management also says the government needs to replace Air Zimbabwe’s ageing fleet to give the airline a fighting chance in a highly competitive industry, with major international airlines now set to restore flights to Harare, encouraged by political stability and an improving economy.