KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) says it is pulling out of Zimbabwe and Zambia citing difficult operating environment in the two southern African nations.
“We think the fees are too high for an economical and profitable operation, we think they can come down,” said KLM’s vice president Pieter Bootsma.
“Recent optimisations in KLM’s network portfolio in East Africa led to the decision to discontinue direct services from Amsterdam to Lusaka and Harare,”he said.
In 2012, KLM resumed flights between Harare and Amsterdam 13 years after it stopped plying the route.
Over the past decade international airlines, including Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa pulled out of Zimbabwe due to dwindling passenger numbers and unstable economic environment in the southern African nation.
In past recent years Zimbabwe’s flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe has also downsized due to frequent strikes and huge debts incurred as the airline tries to maintain an ageing fleet. In January 2012, Air Zimbabwe airline came under judicial management after it ceased operation due to financial constraints.
Following a failed revival attempt, in which the pilots refused to resume domestic services over $35 million in unpaid salaries and allowances, the government announced that Air Zimbabwe would be grounded indefinitely on 24 February 2012. (VENTURES AFRICA)