STATE-OWNED national carrier Air Zimbabwe has adjusted its fares by up to $40 after the airline’s comeback promotion lapsed last month as the festive season approaches.
After extending its Cruising Altitude Promotion from July to September in bid to claw back market share following a lean spell, the airline yesterday announced the new fares which would see a return ticket for the Harare/Bulawayo flight increasing to $150 from the promotional $105.
The traditionally viable Harare/Johannesburg route, which during the promotion cost $275, will now cost $310 while the Harare/Victoria Falls return ticket now costs $220 from $180.
Despite announcing this upward revision, the airline has enticed customers with a free ticket for every four trips travelled on any route.
Company spokesperson Shingai Taruvinga could not be contacted for comment as she was said to be attending the ongoing Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair.
Facing stiff competition from major airlines which had renewed interest to fly Harare with some flying for the first time, the airline launched its comeback following a restructuring exercise.
According to figures from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for the year ending December 31 2012, Air Zimbabwe’s market share for the period plunged to 0,8% from 27% in 2009 triggered by viability problems confronting the national carrier.
During this restructuring exercise, the airline acquired an Airbus A320 to improve its fleet.
The Airbus added to Air Zimbabwe’s current fleet comprising two B767-200s, three B737-200s and three MA60s. Official figures show that the introduction of the two Airbuses currently being leased by the airline had reduced operational costs by 45% for the company.
Air Zimbabwe, according to the tourism regulator, dropped in its market share from 27% in 2009 to a mere 0,8% in 2012 and suspended its links to Asia and China in particular.
Air Zimbabwe is next month expected to resume direct flights to London.
At its peak, Air Zimbabwe used to have 1 025 employees manning a route network servicing Harare-Johannesburg, Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Falls, Harare-Nairobi, Harare-Dar-es-Salaam, Harare-Lubumbashi, Harare-London and Harare-Kuala Lumpur-Beijing.
In May, the airline announced that it had sent over 600 workers on forced leave to rebuild the route network, offer professional competitive services on flights, increase financial return and build a strong passenger base for the benefit of all stakeholders.