Air Zimbabwe

Old May 20, 05, 8:31 am
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Air Zimbabwe

I know this is off topic but....

From The Daily Mirror, 20 May

Air Zim flies a lone passenger from Dubai

Shame Makoshori

National airline, Air Zimbabwe, on Wednesday shattered aviation records history by cruising more than 6 000 km between Dubai and Harare with one passenger, highly placed sources said yesterday. This is understood to have courted the ire of senior government officials who have since questioned the logic of the trip and subsequently the introduction of dozens of new routes without having aggressively marketed the initiatives.This newspaper was told that to break even, the 205-seater Boeing 737 airliner that took off from the Harare International Airport on its inaugural flight to Dubai on Monday needs 60 percent of passenger capacity. This translates to about 120 passengers. However, the impeccable sources revealed yesterday that Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer Tendai Mahachi gave the nod for the plane to take off with only 49 passengers on board. "This means we never recovered even 10 percent of the costs of flying the aircraft. What is happening at this airline is a clear example of mediocre planning while at the same time claiming to be turning the airline’s fortunes around. "The world over, the procedure is that before a flight is launched, it is preceded by extensive marketing to appraise the market. In this case, industry was not approached, the tourism industry was not approached and even in Dubai the market was not aware that a new flight was coming in."

When the plane reportedly returned home with only one passenger, the source, an aviation expert, said, "We have made aviation history. Since 1903 when the first flight took off, no international aircraft has cruised such long distances as this with one passenger aboard." He said the airline ignored government advice to carry the media and other stakeholders on the inaugural flight, saying that all seats had been sold. The source urged the responsible ministry to take action after concerns were raised that the recent opening up of extra routes by Air Zimbabwe had been badly coordinated. Air Zimbabwe has been struggling to settle its debts in the past few years and at one time last year it was suspended from the international clearing system for failing to settle a $40 million debt. Efforts to get a comment from Mahachi were fruitless yesterday, while Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary Karikoga Kaseke was reportedly in South Africa when The Daily Mirror called his office. Petroleum procurer, BP Shell Marketing also threatened to block fuel supplies to the airline and a plethora of other debts have either been taken over by government or remain unsettled. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this year chipped in with a $1.1 trillion facility to boost the company’s turnaround strategies while government chipped in with two MA60 airliners from China. Vice-President Joyce Mujuru, who is in charge of parastatals, has warned them not to rely on government handouts, but work towards growing business.

Last edited by Shumba; May 20, 05 at 8:38 am
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Old May 20, 05, 11:33 am
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There is a story of a BA flight from LHR to Narita that only took one pax on a 747 (about 10 years back) - so no history was being made here.
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Old May 21, 05, 5:52 am
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Originally Posted by erik123
There is a story of a BA flight from LHR to Narita that only took one pax on a 747 (about 10 years back) - so no history was being made here.
It was from Narita to Heathrow. The aircraft had gone tech and all pax save one were rebooked on other flights. The remaining pax, who apparently wasn't in a hurry, opted to wait until the aircraft had been repaired. I believe she arrived in the UK a day late.

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Old May 21, 05, 4:27 pm
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I do remember reading she was upgraded to first class!
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