In recent years, the national airline, Air Zimbabwe has been making horrible headlines in the press and over social media.
Recently the European Union banned the ever-struggling parastatal from flying across the EU airspace due to non-compliance to international safety standards.
“Ninety airlines certified in 15 different states, due to inadequate safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states; 21 airlines certified in Russia, as well as six individual airlines from other states, based on serious safety deficiencies identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe),” said the EU Commission in a statement.
For over 20 years, the ageing fleet was not allowed to land in the EU and this current ban is subsequent to a 2019 ban by Airports Company SA over a debt that was later assumed by the government to relaunch the Johannesburg flights last year.
Despite saddling along with other airlines in different countries, Air Zimbabwe has been struggling to provide efficient transport services even though there were laid efforts to fully revive its operations.
Reacting to this, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana said, “How come all national airlines from countries under sanctions were banned including scores from Russia?”
However, let’s put the sanctions rhetoric in the spotlight. If the sanctions were removed today, would that change the fact that the Zimbabwe fleet does not meet international safety standards?
Even air Zimbabwe itself knows that there are measures and concerns that need to be addressed. It is plausible that they are looking forward to inviting the European Aviation Safety Agency to audit its operations.
“Therefore, there is need for mobilisation of resources, both financial and human in 2022, towards the implementation of requisite processes to satisfy the EASA requirements,” said Air Zimbabwe in a statement.
The government is fully aware of the issues in need of change. Probably this is the time for Air Zimbabwe to reflect, start afresh, build and even focus on local and regional flights as they grow.
The fleet represents the face of the country whenever they land at any regional or international airport. The country cannot continue to bear the tattered brand through a representation such as Air Zimbabwe, in its current state.
Air Zimbabwe is just but one of the crippled transport service providers in Zimbabwe alongside its sister, the National Railways of Zimbabwe.