Air Zimbabwe Boeing 707-330B Hoppe. credit MediaWiki

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Transport: Air Transport in Zimbabwe

  • Modern airports are very costly to build and maintain and require a very large area of flat land on which to build them.
  • Large areas to build arrival and departure terminals, custom offices, warehouses and maintenance hangars.
  • An airport must have access to the main population centers which generate high demand for air traffic.
  • However, increasing environmental concern with jet aircraft noise has meant that airports are being located at an increasing distance from major population centres yet must be linked to them by fast and efficient transport services and roads.
  • Airports also locate away from densely settled areas to avert disaster if a plane crashes at landing or take-off.
  • It is also unwise to build airports in deep narrow valleys for this reason but to choose extensive flat land.
  • Besides noise pollution and accident dangers, aircraft also cause a lot of air pollution affecting the health of the people.
  • Also busy airports directly disturb normal business of ordinary people from the noise and air pollution.
  • New trends in Zimbabwe, that the government are working on is to extend existing airports rather than build new ones, for example, the building of new, very modern terminal at Harare International airport.
  • Upgrade runways and handlings facilities at older airport such as at Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Masvingo and Buffalo Range.
  • Provide greater comfort and speed to the ageing fleet of airport and the planes.

Problems

  • Air transport in Zimbabwe mostly falls under the jurisdiction of Air Zimbabwe, a government parastatal which together with ZESA and NRZ, form the three core profit-making parastatals in the country.
  • Air transport in the country, together with Air Zimbabwe faces numerous administrative, economic and operational problems which include:
    1. Ageing aircraft.
    2. Lack of foreign currency for spares.
    3. A poor local market as living standards are falling and people are becoming poorer.
    4. Corruption
    5. Incompetent  leadership
    6. A very unionized educated labour force constantly going on strike for better working conditions and higher pay.
    7. Political wrangles between government and some European countries reducing the clientele for Air Zimbabwe.
    8. Low turnover, implying that the state has to subside an unprofitable airline, and,
    9. Competition from establishes airlines which are more reliable, more comfortable and cheaper.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page

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