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Air Zimbabwe Resumes Domestic Flights With Only 3 Passengers

After suspending operations early this year due to viability problems, Air Zimbabwe resumed domestic flights on Wednesday with one of its planes flying from Bulawayo to the capital, Harare, with only three passengers.

State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo confirmed the flight, but said he was surprised the airline had resumed operations when the government is still looking for an investor to partner the company, saddled with a $140 million debt.

The airline’s Boeing 737-600, with a capacity of 126 passengers, left Bulawayo with only three people on board. Air Zimbabwe is planning to have three flights a week between Harare, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo.

Moyo cautioned the move may backfire as the national airline does not yet have the capacity to embark on such operations due to lack of funds and a crippling debt.

Independent economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said Air Zimbabwe should abandon the flights, calling them unproductive. “This is a foolish move that will worsen the airline’s financial problems,” said Ngwenya.

A U.S. aviation firm last December impounded one of Air Zimbabwe’s international commercial aircraft in London for non-payment of a US$1.2 million debt.

The seizure followed the impounding of an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737-500 by South Africa’s Bid Air Services over a US$500,000 debt for ground services