South African Airways is making a killing out of the demise of Air Zimbabwe. It is currently operating 18 flights to Harare every week, and has daily flights to the country’s primary tourist resort Victoria Falls.
Flights to Harare are on a Boeing 737-800 which carries 157 passengers except on Thursday when it uses an Airbus 330-200 which carries 222 passengers.
If all flights are full, which they usually are, this means that SAA flies in 2 891 passengers into Harare every week and flies an equal number from Harare to Johannesburg.
The flight to Victoria Falls is on an Airbus 319 which carries 120 passengers making it 840 a week.
Air Zimbabwe has not been flying for almost a year now but even when it was operating it was crippled by strikes by its workers.
The airline also at one time faced the threat of its planes being seized because of debts.
There is no indication as to when the airline will resume flights.
Trade Unions representing workers for the former airline have applied for judicial management of the airline rather than liquidation and stopped the government from stripping the airline of its major and only profitable subsidiary, National Handling Services in April.