Emirates must not carry passengers between Harare and Lusaka, according to Air Zimbabwe.
Airzim chief executive officer Captain Ripton Muzenda told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development this week that the Harare-Lusaka route was one of the most viable routes that the national airline must be enjoying.
He said under the agreement with Emirates, the airline was supposed to carry passengers from Zimbabwe to Dubai, instead of carrying passengers between Harare and Lusaka.“Our opinion as Air Zimbabwe is that this works against our favour that Emirates is operating between Harare and Lusaka,” said Capt Muzenda.
At present they are allowed to take passengers from Harare to Lusaka and terminating. So, this extends to seventh freedom, which we are opposed to.”
Capt Muzenda said the fact that Emirates was allowed to ply the Harare-Lusaka route disadvantaged the national airline as it was unable to compete with it.
He said given that Emirates had been allowed to ply that route, there were high chances that they could end up carrying passengers between Harare and Victoria Falls or Johannesburg.
“As a national airline, we are opposed to the granting of this seventh freedom that has been couched as a fifth freedom, said Capt Muzenda. “If they fly to Harare, they must fly back to Dubai.
“They are allowed to fly from Dubai to Harare to Lusaka, but they should not be carrying passengers in between.
“This brings unfair competition. For your information, the Lusaka route is very lucrative.
“The Harare-Joburg is the most lucrative. Harare-Lusaka is equally competitive or very close to Joburg and Bulawayo.