Air Zimbabwe Is Shutting Down For Several Days Because They Have No Planes That Can Fly

Air Zimbabwe is shutting down for several days because they have no aircraft suitable to operate.

  • On December 30 their Boeing 737-200 went out of service. It reportedly needs 45 days of maintenance, though there’s speculation that the 33 year old aircraft won’t return to the fleet. The 737 had been flying to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, and Dar es Salaam.

  • Their only other aircraft, a Boeing 767-200, needs maintenance that’s expected to take several days (a “component upgrade”).

The airline is owned by Zimbabwe’s government yet undergoing a bankruptcy restructuring “to clear its debt thought to be more than $334 million.” They aren’t paying on any debt accrued prior to October 4, 2018.

Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767, by Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia Commons

Twelve years ago Air Zimbabwe was forced to cancel its only profitable route, Harare – London, over fears that its aircraft would be seized due to unpaid debts.

Their Johannesburg flying broke down after the country’s first lady found a topless model in a tryst with her sons in South Africa.

(HT: simons1)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We flew on Air Zimbabwe about 20 years ago (J’burg-Vic Falls). We had to assume the “crash position” for landing!

  2. Returned from a trip to Zimbabwe in September. My flight was out of Joburg on SAA, into Bulawayo. Previous to the trip I had done a bit of reading and noted that “there is no currency in Zimbabwe.” I filed the fact away somewhere in my brain and forgot about it. Only when I was at the Joburg airport and standing in line at the departure gate did the woman in front of me ask if I had enough cash. I glanced into my wallet and saw about $100 usd,. I told her I expected–had heard?–there were ATMs at the Bulawayo and Harare airports. She laughed. So I raced out of line, upstairs to the ATM and pulled out some extra rand, just in case.

    There was no ATM at Bulawayo (nor anywhere in Zim, for that matter, as there was no cash!). There was, however, a hulking 767 parked on the taxiway, that I was told was only in use “sometimes” as there wasn’t enough money to pay for the maintenance.

    Fascinating country with a wealth of natural resources and from the air, a stunning, empty landscape full of potential. Mugabe really made a mess of things

  3. It’s always amazing to me that countries like Zimbabwe where nothing works have national airlines – and their planes are NOT falling out of the sky.

  4. It’s been over 15 years since I visited the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I believe the country’s financial situation has worsened since then. I feel so sorry for the people of what was known as the breadbasket of southern Africa. The populace has not benefited from Mugabe rule.

  5. Seriously, I dont know how all of these micro airlines are able to maintain their aircrafts. First, there is knowledge and then there are costs. An airline with 30 planes of the same model can reach economies of scale and tangible experience, but how does maintenance develop any knowledge proficiency with 5 planes or less?

  6. Most of Africa is in trouble financially and with poor governance. I do not see spurt in economic growth for the next decade despite China investing a lot. I was for a while working on ideas to connect with business in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, etc. But have stopped all efforts.

    Except for Tunisia where I am the Project Director of a very large project, I have no plans to travel to Africa. Morocco and Tunisia are okay…not Sub-Sahara

  7. We used Air Zimbabwe December 2011 for the whole family to fly to visit my dad in Zimbabwe from London who had cancer. We booked and paid for the flights, but on arriving in Zimbabwe were told the return flights had been cancelled. My son who was coming with his partner from Australia to London to fly to Zimbabwe had to book alternative flights on another airline, costing me in total over £3000, but still can’t get money back from them. My partner died on the day we left London to go to Zimbabwe so I had that to contend with too. They think they are above the law and can mess with people’s lives. ABTA and IATA couldn’t do anything about it either as they weren’t members and my travel insurance didn’t cover us too. Never again will I fly or recommend using them. My grandfather used to maintain the aeroplanes and he was offered a job at the age of 92 to go back as they were desperate!!

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