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Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Work: JFK-SFO-CDG-HKG
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Fish has been covering aviation and transportation security issues since September 15, 2001, after walking away from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan following four days of documenting the worst aviation security disaster in history.

Having spent more than a decade-and-a-half as a full-time photojournalist, Fish now divides his time between building social media and social commerce strategies and solutions for global travel brands, along with researching aviation and transportation security.

Growing up at the end up New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L probably explains Fish’s enjoyment of watching planes fly overhead. When not working or shooting photos, Fish can be found playing with (and cleaning up after) his three kids, chasing his dogs, standing in the kitchen cooking, monitoring radios public safety and federal radios and of course cheering for the Red Sox.

You can find Fish on Twitter at @flyingwithfish …and … join Fish every Thursday at 3:30pm EST as he hosts the weekly #TNI #Travel Chat on Twitter.

Air Zimbabwe Plane Repo’d & IATA Halts Ticket Sales

Earlier this month I wrote about the troubles of the beleaguered Air Zimbabwe in this post – Air Zimbabwe Skirts Sanctions Narrowly Flying By.

 

While it may seem as if things could not get much worse for the airline, they have.

 

Last week, the troubled Air Zimbabwe’s problems took a turn worse as the International Air Transit Association (IATA) ceased allowing travel agents to book flights on the airline over an unpaid US$280,000 debt.  According to Anthony Concil, IATA’s Director of Corporate Communications, IATA officially notified more than 60,000 travel agents, worldwide, on the 12th of May, with the suspension of ticket sales going into effect immediately.

 

Yesterday, less than a week after IATA halted travel agents from selling tickets on Air Zimbabwe flights, the airline suffered another significant setback, as Zambezi Airlines repossessed a Boeing 737-5Y0 it had leased to Air Zimbabwe right out from under the airlines’ nose. The repossession of the 737 was made more embarrassing to the airline, and government, as it occurred at Harare International Airport, where Air Zimbabwe is based.

 

Zambezi Airlines’ leased Boeing 737-5Y0 joined Air Zimbabwe’s fleet just two months ago, with the airline paying a deposit of US$1,800,000 towards the lease. However since the start of the lease, Air Zimbabwe had failed to make additional contractual payments of US$460,000, causing Zambezi Airlines to cancel the lease and take back its aircraft.

 

Air Zimbabwe is now left with a fleet of one viable aircraft, a Boeing 767-200, as it has removed the company’s three Boeing 737-200s from service due to requiring major maintenance overhauls. One of the airline aging 737-200s had been grounded by Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority. With no aircraft to service domestic and regional routes, and only one long haul aircraft, how long can air Zimbabwe survive?

 

The airline maintains it will be receiving two Airbus A340-500 ultra-long-haul aircraft in just a few weeks, however Airbus has been unable to confirm this at this time.   Even if Air Zimbabwe receives its two A340-500s, which seems unlikely, how will it sell tickets internationally? How will the airline service its vital domestic and regional routes, the routes that are of the most importance to the airline’s existence?

 

Can an airline exist on the sheer will of a bankrupt government? This is a question that I think only time will answer …

 

Happy Flying!

3 Responses

  1. What will happen to all my UM points? :)

  2. […] back to June 2011 and July 2011, Air Zimbabwe continued its downward spiral, including having leased aircraft repossessed, Lufthansa Technic withholding one of the airline’s Boeing 767 engines (grounding one of […]

  3. […] to be on the precipice of collapse, things started to further unravel for the airline. On the 12th of May 2011 the International Air Transit Association (IATA) halted all ticket sales for the ai…e, notifying more than 60,000 travel agents around the world that tickets could no longer be sold […]

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