Air Zimbabwe hikes fares by 500 percent

HARARE, Oct 23, 2006 (AFP) – Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, announced fare increases on Monday of up to 500 percent on both international and domestic routes. A spokesman said the airline had no option but to implement the masssive price hikes as a result of surging overhead costs and the high inflation rate.

“The goods and services we use everyday have been going up by at least 150 percent every month so we had no option but to review our fares upwards,” David Mwenga told AFP. “Prices are literally going up every time you wake up.”

As a result of the changes, an economy class return ticket to London will now cost 1,865,000 Zimbabwe dollars (7,460 US dollars) up from 358,310 dollars.

London is the main destination for travellers from the former British colony and Air Zimbabwe runs daily flights.

The cost of travelling to the Chinese capital Beijing will now be 2.5 million dollars (10,000 US dollars) — up from 545,000 dollars.

China is becoming an increasingly important destination for Zimbabwe as a result of burgeoning economic ties.

With annual inflation running at more than 1,000 percent, the relative cost of the fares will rapidly