In 1999, the Government of Zimbabwe established the Supervising authority Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) through the Civil Aviation Act of 1998. The CAAZ is the main provider of civil aviation services, serving as the regulator of the industry, managing the civil aviation infrastructure, including the main airports, and providing airspace management services.
The CAAZ owns and manages eleven airports in Zimbabwe. The original design capacity of the various terminals was sufficient for up to 3.8 million passengers a year. Harare is the main hub, but its operations and that of the other major airports have been affected by the poor performance of the economy. Civil aviation infrastructure in Zimbabwe is in need of rehabilitation and regular maintenance. A particular concern is air traffic control and safety, as equipment is old and in need of replacement. Closely related to traffic surveillance is the capability for aircraft communication to and from the ground.
The entire airspace of Zimbabwe has not been covered by existing facilities, and what does exist is deficient. The airspace surveillance equipment is not well maintained, and while repairs have been carried out at Harare, work on the system at Joshua Nkomo International Airport (Bulawayo) is incomplete. Shortcomings in surveillance also raise concerns about search and rescue operations. Weather installations are inadequate and broadband infrastructure is not available at most airports.
As a result of the economic problems of the past decade and sharp decline in tourism activity in Zimbabwe, international and domestic aircraft movements have declined sharply. The former declined from about 31,000 in 1999 to about 16,000 in 2009. The decline in domestic movements was even greater, owing to the decline in domestic travel by tourists and the adverse effect of the domestic economic difficulties. The large contraction in demand for air services to and from Zimbabwe has contributed to a sharp reduction in the number of international airlines that service the Zimbabwe market.
During 1997-2007 more than twenty scheduled airlines discontinued services in Zimbabwe, including major carriers such as Air France (1997), KLM (1998), Lufthansa (2000), Swiss Air (2000), and British Airways (2007). At present, 13 airlines operate services to and from Zimbabwe. These include Air Zimbabwe, which is the primary domestic carrier owned by the Government, Kenya Airways, Air Malawi, Botswana Airline, South African Airways, South African Airlink, Comair (which is a franchise partner with British Airways), Air Namibia, Emirates, Egyptian, Zambezi Airline, Ethiopian Airlines, Angola Airlines and Fly Africa (budget airline). There are 130 airports (or 196 per the CIA) in Zimbabwe, a combination of paved and unpaved runways.
All aircrafts carrying cargo must land only at designated airports. Air freight will be cleared at the airport of first landing in Zimbabwe provided such airport is a designated customs airport. If the airport of destination is not a designated airport, the aircraft operator must take special arrangements for clearance of the freight before flying to the destination.
The dropping or spraying of objects or other substances out of or from the aircraft is prohibited. This does not apply to ballast in the form of water or fine sand, fuel tow ropes, tow banners or similar objects if dropped or discharged at places where no danger to persons or property exist. The authority may grant exemption to the introduction if no danger to persons or property exists.
In accordance with article 19 of the International Sanitary regulations adopted by the World Health Organisation, the following are designed sanitary airports:
- Harare/Harare Airport
- Bulawayo/Joshua Mquabuko Nkomo Airport
Key airport information may also be found at World Aero Data.
Private aircraft operating into an airport in Zimbabwe and carrying seven passengers and below do not require prior permission but should submit normal ATC flight plan only. Private aircraft wishing to over fly Zimbabwean airspace are however are required to have prior permission and must submit an application to the CAAZ.
The authority establishes prohibited areas and restricted areas, if necessary, for the prevention of danger to public safety or order especially for the safety of air traffic. These areas are published in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP)
At minor aerodromes without ATC, inspections are often irregular, and pivots must, in addition to obtaining the latest serviceability, examine the landing area from the air before attempting to land. Generally, no facilities are provided.
For airport contact information, please see the following links:
Procedures for Foreign Registered Aircraft
An operator intending to over fly Zimbabwe must apply in writing to Nigel Marumahoko at the Civil Aviation Authority on Fax number: +263(04)585100 during working hours or +263(04)575163 during weekends and holidays. Once this has been approved then further information will be issued in order to complete registration.
In Zimbabwe, the following requirements need to be applied, presented and approved before pre-positioning of foreign registered aircraft:
- Aircraft registration
- Aircraft type and MAUW
- Operator's full name and address
- Point of departures, destinations, and further itineraries
- Route, entry and exit points
- Return phone, fax numbers and email
- Number of passengers and intended cargo loads
- Exact purpose of flights
Registration and Safety: Registration will take place once the application has been approved
Operator, aircraft and crew documentation: Any documentation not submitted in the application procedure will be noted and requested of the operator once the application has been completed and approved.
The Authority will inform the applicant, by return fax, of the calculated costs of the intended operations. Payment must be made by means of a bank transfer of the required amount into the authority’s FCA account. Processing is almost immediate and may take up to a week if there are any irregularities.
For information on required fees, please see the following attachment: Zimbabwe Aviation Fees