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Zimbabwe Government loses patience with Fokkers

THE ZIMBABWE Government has told Air Zimbabwe to terminate its leases on two Fokker 50 turboprops, following concerns about their performance and their adverse effect on the country's tourist industry.

After a parliamentary committee concluded that the aircraft were not suitable for operations from hot-and-high airports during the African summer, Zimbabwe's transport minister Simon Moyo announced his decision, to terminate the ten-year leases.

The parliamentary report, which suggests an element of mismanagement by the airline, cites several incidents where passengers and baggage had to be left behind, "...adversely affecting the tourism industry, as well as giving the country a bad name". Air Zimbabwe says that the leases will be terminated.

No decision has been made on a replacement aircraft, but Air Zimbabwe is looking at options - including jet-powered aircraft. The airline operates a British Aerospace 146-200, capable of serving Zimbabwe's main high-altitude airports, including Kariba, and could be switched on to domestic routes.