In the world of airline travel in the land of corruption, sometimes the best way to shed debt is to close shop and re-open a block away. That was the plan for Air Zimbabwe. Was…
I haven’t addressed the recent coup and ouster of longtime-strongmen Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The issue fascinates me, especially after my trip to Zimbabwe in 2014. To see first-hand how Mugabe and his corruption destroyed a once-prosperous nation is sobering.
Air Zimbabwe is the debt-ridden national airline of Zimbabwe. It once had international prestige but now is simply a a limited shell of its former self with over $300,000,000 in debt. The airline was often commandeered for personal use by Mugabe and his family, making it a laughingstock. Can you imagine…”Ladies and gentlemen, our flight was cancelled today because Grace Mugabe needs to go shopping in Cape Town”.
The plan was to take the signs down for “Air Zimbabwe” and put up new “Zimbabwe Airways” signs. It’s difficult to collect debt on a defunct carrier. But the new government smelled a rat.
The new airline was to be run by Simba Chikore, the husband of Robert Mugabe’s daughter Bona. He was COO at the “highly-successful” Air Zimbabwe. His plan: acquire four 777 aircraft from Malaysia Airlines and resume longhaul flights.
Sensing that it may not be a good idea for an executive officer of a corrupt and failing airline to run a new national airlines, the government will likely block the start-up. The family connection didn’t help.
Hope is in the air again in Zimbabwe. The corrupt leader has resigned and the people of Zimbabwe, resilient and hardworking, now have a chance again to move forward and not backwards. Wasting millions on a new corrupt national airline won’t help.
image: Maarten Visser / Wikimeida Commons