We all know that the one carrier that has been dominating the skies over Zimbabwe, especially as far as direct flights are concerned, is Air Zimbabwe (UM).
The country’s national carrier, Air Zimbabwe also referred as ‘Air Zim’ that offers flights to Harare from London Gatwick Airport, twice weekly remained the one and only ‘non-stop’ service between the two countries for several years. Hence, acquiring ‘first’ position and increased demand by Zimbabwean clients, across the western continent despite being a two star ranked carrier. However, the recent massive fare hike by Air Zimbabwe has certainly, changed things as we have known them.
Though the airline’s route, times and days remain unaffected, the carrier has raised its fares up, leaving customers shocked and devastated. At this stage, it’s already too late to speculate what has provoked this action, but the immediate results of this least expected move include rising waves of tension, sudden distress among Air Zimbabwe clients and a tremendous fall in demand.
Here, what is worth mentioning is the fact that unlike South Africa or Far East, the vast majority of Air Travelers flying to Zimbabwe every season consists largely of “working class”. Though, once a year or once a blue moon ‘holiday makers’ also contribute a big chunk in the Airline’s revenue but the strong clientele of frequent and loyal travelers comprises of Medicine Professionals, Hospital nurses, Senior citizens, Students, Immigrants and working class barely able to travel once a year.
Now the big question mark is “Affordability” meaning “who” is the cheapest flight provider now and how to make a sensible choice when surfing for cheap flights to Zimbabwe.
Here is a brief overview of the present situation based on comparison of three top airlines to Zimbabwe that will make it easy for you to pick and choose the suitable low cost airline.Comparison ETHIOPIAN AIRLINE (ET) KENYA AIRWAYS (KQ) AIR ZIMBABWE (UM) Established year: 1945 1977 1980 (Air Zimbabwe) Alliance Star Alliance (future) Sky Team ———- Ranking 3 Star 3.5 Star 2 Star Awards ‘Airline of the year 2009’ ‘Business Airline of the year’ 2010
‘Fastest Growing Airline’ :: ‘Best Financial Disclosure in Africa 2010’ etc ———– Flight Schedule: Daily Flights via Addis Ababa Daily Flights via Nairobi (code share KLM) Twice Weekly Only Route / Journey Time 15 to 15:30 hours approx incl. stop 15 to 15:30 hours Approx including stop over 12 to 13 hours approx (direct) Airline Failure Insurance (money back guarantee) Yes Yes ———– Ticket Validity: 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months Baggage Allowance: 46 Kilos 46 Kilos 40 Kilos Other Connections / Network: 76 Destinations worldwide 51 Destinations worldwide 8 destinations worldwide only Fleet Size 46 Planes 31 Planes 8 Planes Only Air Craft Type Airbus A350-900 (ordered), Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 757-200, Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR etc Boeing 737-300, Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 777-200ER etc Boeing 737-200Adv, Boeing 767-200ER and Xian MA60 Average Fares: (as of today) excl. taxes 350 GBP excl. (economy) 350 GBP excl. (economy) 450 GBP excl. (economy)
*Fares are subject to availability of seat. Please apply taxes / service charges before reservation.
Considering all the above points, specially the fares with a heavy difference of 100 GBP between Air Zimbabwe and the other two multi-star carriers, it is obvious why there been a rapid increase in sale of flights with Kenya Airways (the pride of Africa) and the oldest carrier, Ethiopian Airline.
Since the raise in fares is applied by Air Zimbabwe, Air Travelers all around the UK are flocking to get their seats reserved at Kenya and Ethiopian Airline. The first is a well reckoned and award winning airline offering code share flights with KLM-AF Group. Whereas, both the airline, Kenya and Ethiopian are IATA insured. Which means no matter what, your money is safe and refundable incase of airline failure to operate.
The bottom line is, why pay more when you can get it in less. A penny saved is a penny earned!!!