By Andrew Kunambura
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) will no longer collect departure and airport taxes directly from Air Zimbabwe (AirZim)’s customers with effect from February 1.
Effective that date, AirZim will now charge the taxes as part of the airfare and remit the money to Caaz before it falls due.
Caaz had been collecting the taxes from AirZim’s customers at the airport, greatly inconveniencing the airline’s customers.
The authority had resorted to that measure because AirZim had not been remitting the money after collecting the taxes from its clients.
The standard practice the world over is that passengers pay their departure taxes as part of their air fares. The money is used for purposes of airport maintenance.
AirZim’s corporate affairs and communications manager, Tafadzwa Mazonde, said they negotiated with Caaz, which agreed to allow them to collect that tax on the ticket as is the norm.
“This will bring convenience to our passengers as there will not be any extra costs to be paid at the airport over and above the ticket price as is currently prevailing,” said Mazonde.
AirZim is currently struggling to go back to viability following years of collapse which at one point saw all its planes getting grounded.
It is saddled with a crippling debt of up to $300 million and has failed to attract partners to turn around its fortunes due to its high level of indebtedness which scares off potential investors.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Jorum Gumbo recently disclosed that the national airline was making a loss of $2 million every month and was relying on daily government bailouts.
AirZim has also been grappling with declining load factors with passenger numbers having plummeted to about 230 000 per annum from a peak of one million in 1996 as travellers opt for other airlines. DailyNews