Air Zimbabwe resumes flights between London and Harare on Thursday night – exactly a week after ash clouds from a volcano in Iceland shut down most of Europe’s air space and caused unprecedented disruption. One of Air Zimbabwe’s two Boeing 767s flew out of Harare at lunchtime Wednesday, and a regular Thursday night flight out of Gatwick is scheduled to leave at 11PM – a delay of about five hours due to heavy air traffic, officials said.
Air Zimbabwe said it lost about US$1 million during the week that its London-Harare route was closed. The airline’s CEO Peter Chikumba said they had a backlog of about 800 passengers in Harare and London which they hoped to clear up by Wednesday next week.
Air Zimbabwe flies twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday to London from Harare, and has two flights to Harare from London on Thursday and Sunday. UK airports opened on Wednesday – easing a week of chaos for millions of travellers around Europe. The airline industry lost an estimated US$1,7 billion over the last week, the International Air Transport Association revealed.