Zimbabwe has once again said it plans to re-introduce flights to London and Beijing after suspending them several years ago due to financial and operational challenges besetting the national carrier.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development Munesu Munodawafa was quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper Tuesday as saying that the government was currently scouting for a strategic partner for the airline with capacity especially to resume long haul flights.
The Harare-London route is one of Air Zimbabwe’s most lucrative routes and analysts believe a direct flight between Beijing and Harare would go a long way in boosting Chinese tourists into Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe government recently gave Air Zimbabwe the approval to find a suitable strategic partner to revive its operations, and has often expressed desire to resume flights to the United Kingdom and China because of their huge potential.
“The focus is for the operator that will be able to resume the long haul drive,” Munodawafa said.
At its peak, Air Zimbabwe used to fly to over 25 regional and international destinations but is currently only flying regional routes in southern Africa due to lack of funds to modernize its fleet and pay off creditors.
It is saddled with a 300 million U.S. dollars debt, and requires a billion dollars for recapitalization, according to government.