AIR Zimbabwe customers will now have to pay more in foreign currency after the troubled national airline last week introduced a special levy for fuel on its charges.
According to documents seen by Businessdigest, the fuel levy, which was effective February 29, will be incorporated under departure tax.
This means that a passenger flying to China will have to pay US$110 ($2,53 billion on the parallel market) for the fuel levy on top of the departure tax of US$12. The fuel levy to China is the same for both business and economy class.
A traveller to England will pay a fuel levy of US$111 on top of the US$179 departure tax in business class. Those flying in economy class will pay US$110 on top of the US$100 departure fee.
A person flying to South Africa will pay a fuel levy of US$90 in addition to the US$41 for both the economy and business class.
A fuel levy of US$29 is paid for both business and economy class to Dubai on top of the US$90 departure tax. The fuel levy to Singapore cost US$124 from US$14 for both business and economy class.
Insiders said the national airline last week decided to charge the fuel levy in foreign currency after failing to obtain foreign currency to meet fuel and other operational costs.
The new charges are being effected at a time when the country is facing serious foreign currency shortages.
About 80% of Air Zimbabweâ€™s costs are in foreign currency, but the national airline said it was only managing about 20% of the requirements.
Air Zimbabwe had been experiencing flight delays and cancellations due to the shortage of Jet A1 fuel, equipment constraints and crew shortages.
The cancellation and delays has cost Air Zimbabwe billions of dollars in accommodation and food for the affected people.
Air Zimbabwe introduced the fuel levy after incurring huge costs when they resorted to importing Jet A1 fuel from neighbouring countries since January 4.
The new fuel supplies from neighbouring countries were augmenting those from BP Shell and Total, which have exclusive rights for the provision of Jet A1 fuel in the country.
Air Zimbabwe requires 600 000 litres of Jet A1 fuel a week for its fleet of two Boeing 767-200ER, three Boeing 737-200ADV and three Modern Ark 60 from China. The airline needs about US$100 million for recapitalisation.–Paul Nyakazeya