Airlines Avoid Zimbabwean Airspace Like The Plague
Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe is seen in this photo. Parliament has been told that foreign airlines are avoiding Zimbabwe's airspace, with the result that the country is losing potential revenue from overflying rights from these airlines. The Met Department is supposed to provide accurate and reliable weather conditions reports to these planes but has been unable to do this due to lack of funds. With the FIFA 2010 World Cup coming up, here is proof that the Inclusive Government continues to pursue skewed policies that ignore critical sectors with the potential to contribute to the country's revenue streams. As I have said before, it appears these people have no idea what they are doing. A little education is indeed a dangerous thing!!
Harare, Zimbabwe, 07 December 2009
Ministry of Transport Permanent Secretary, the "apolitical" Mr Mbiriri, last week told parliament that foreign airlines are avoiding Zimbabwean airspace like the plague because the country is unable to provide proper and accurate weather conditions reports and advice for planes overflying Zimbabwe.
Mbiriri says the Metrological Department, a government-run and government-funded outfit, has been struggling for some years now because of antiquated and inadequate equipment. They need US$3 million to be able to get back on track and start providing quality service.
But instead of getting the million they requested, the Met Department was only given US$300 000, which the Permanent Secretary says is "measly".
So it appears that no one in this government is capable of thinking laterally and there is nothing more tragic in international and national affairs than people who can not think beyond the tip of their noses. They probably look at the Met Department and see only a bunch of people who tell us when it is going to rain or not and nothing more.
That is the thing about little education at the top.
You see, we have the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa coming up and Zimbabwe could benefit tremendously from this windfall. It is expected that flights to South Africa during the period will be fully booked and people will be looking for alternatives. Some are even prepared t fly into Zimbabwe and then cross the border into South Africa.
But they now not be able to do this, because if airlines can not fly over Zimbabwe, what more flying INTO Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe loses out again and this time, only being of the short-sightedness of this Inclusive Government. They are happy o spend US$23 million on foreign travel whilst ensuring that a service like this gets nothing at all.
They do not seem to appreciate the amount of revenue that could be generated by funding the Met Office. They speak of the FIFA World Cup as an opportunity for the country, but fail to grasp such basic things as funding the Met Office which would attract airlines here instead of watching them land in Mozambique or Zambia or Malawi or Namibia.
This is why some of us have repeatedly said this government has its priorities wrong. They did the same with Harare Hospital, even though the Prime Minister likes to claim that the health sector is improving in Zimbabwe. The hospital is still to get the US$3 million that it says it needs to be able to service the nation properly.
We all know now that hordes of airlines that used to fly into Zimbabwe have fled and they are unlikely to come back with a mess such as this still evident. Which is a pity, considering that Zimbabwe is now a dollarised economy and should really be more attractive than the other countries in the region in terms of returns for investors, including airlines.
Meantime, the national airline itself, Air Zimbabwe, is reeling under a US$28 million debt, even though it now has a virtually captive market when it comes to people flying into the country or around the country.