18 May 2001

Zimbabwe: Air Zimbabwe Reduces DRC Flights

Harare — Air Zimbabwe has reduced its flights into the DRC's Lumbumbashi to one citing fuel shortages and too much capacity on the route. Spokesman David Mwenga said the flights had been stopped two weeks ago.

"We used to fly into Lumbumbashi from Kinshasa on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but have since stopped one of the flights due to too much capacity on the flights and fuel problems," Mwenga said.

"We also found out that it did not make economic sense to fly the route on both days as sometimes the return flight had no takers." Air Zimbabwe now flies to Kinshasa from Harare on Tuesdays, and proceeds to Paris and Brussels. The Wednesday flight touches down in Lumbumbashi, then flies to Mbujimai and Kinshasa and back the same way before returning to Harare.

The national carrier uses both the B737 and the B767 on the routes, with the larger 203-passenger capacity B767 proceeding on to Paris. "There is a lot of traffic between Mbujimai and Kinshasa, but it was not viable for us to keep sending two planes on successive days to ferry passengers. Sometimes the returns were slow, and we have decided to reduce the flights to one," he said.

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