air zimbabwe.pngStakeholders in the aviation industry have urged the government to implement the ‘open skies’ policy to attract more airlines to ply the Zimbabwe route for the benefit of the tourism sector and other downstream industries.

The introduction of a liberal air transport policy was meant to attract foreign airlines to enable accessibility of the country and its tourist resort areas.

However, the implementation of the open skies policy has remained a pipe dream as more than 10 airlines are waiting for the approval of their flying rights.

Discussing the current state of the aviation industry during a breakfast meeting in Harare, stakeholders criticised the protectionist approach by government to the national flag carrier while denying access to other airlines even to local participants to ply the profitable routes.

Air Zimbabwe Holdings Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Innocent Mavhunga said competition is healthy for the airline but its competitiveness has been badly hit by the bloated restructuring exercise.

At its peak in 1988, Zimbabwe’s aviation industry had 1 206 active pilots with an aircraft population of 380.

Currently, 167 active pilots are in the country with an aircraft population of 65, signifying the depletion of the aviation industry.