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Air Zimbabwe resumes flights as pilots end 50-day strike
15/09/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
 
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AIR Zimbabwe will resume “limited” flights starting on Friday -- 50 days after pilots grounded planes in a pay dispute.

A schedule released by the troubled airline on Thursday said domestic flights would be the first to return, followed by regional flights on September 18 and overseas flights on September 23.

CEO Innocent Mavhunga said the state-owned airline was “pleased to announce a resolution of the industrial dispute with its pilots” while affirming “our commitment to ensuring that we don’t have any further disruptions”.

The airline is expected to resume its daily Harare-Bulawayo service on Friday, along with the Harare-Victoria Falls flights.

On Sunday, Air Zimbabwe will resume daily flights to Johannesburg, and the Harare-Lusaka-Lubumbashi service will also come on board with two weekly flights.

Bulawayo-Johannesburg flights remain suspended.
 
On September 23, the airline will resume its flights to China followed by London on Sunday, September 25.

David Mwenga, Air Zimbabwe’s general manager for Europe and the Americas said the flights were being reintroduced on a “phased basis” to avoid flying empty planes.

“Until the end of October, we will fly just one service per week between London and Harare down from the previous two,” Mwenga said last night.

“We will depart Harare for London Gatwick every Sunday, turning back every Monday. The Thursday flights are suspended at least until November when we expect to regularise our flight schedule.”

Air Zimbabwe has been facing severe financial troubles which have been dramatised by three job walkouts by pilots over the last year.

In the latest dispute, pilots grounded planes on July 29 demanding the payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.

The airline, saddled with a US$100 million debt, is set to take delivery of two Airbus planes before Christmas to strengthen its hand on the market against its rivals.



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