Aviation Law in Zimbabwe


First Published: August 24, 2017

Aviation Law in Zimbabwe
By: Prince Kanokanga

It goes without saying that, transportation is a global phenomenon that has its roots in early civilization. Long gone are the days of rope-hauled trains, gravity powered trains, horse-drawn carts and dugout canoes.

In addition to the aforesaid it must be stated that the Wright Brothers who are famously credited with being the aviation pioneers got it right when they achieved the feat of being the first to successfully power and sustain a human flight. One can only imagine the time Christopher Columbus could have saved had he taken a flight, as it is believed to have taken him more than two months to reach the Americas by sea.

In this modern age, transportation is still a global phenomenon as we continue to rely on road transportation, rail transportation, and maritime transportation. It is without a doubt significant to note that air transportation is the swiftest means of transportation in the modern era, which method of transportation has greatly shaped commerce, politics, trade and tourism.

Aviation is not new to Zimbabwe, J McAdam gives an account of the flying activities in Rhodesia during the 1920s in Early Birds in Central Africa in which he states that:

The first aircraft to land on Rhodesian soil – the trail-blazing Vickers Vimy “Silver Queen 11,” flown by Van Ryneveld and Brand, with two mechanics- arrived at Bulawayo on 5th March, 1920 after an epic flight across Europe and down Africa.”

In the matter of Jayesh Shah v Air Zimbabwe Corporation HH 133-10, Kudya J gave a historical background of aviation law with a particular emphasis on the history of the flag bearer of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe and stated:

“There was during the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland a statutory body called the Central African Airways Corporation, which had the powers to sue and be sued. On 1 September 1967 the Minister of Transport and Power, acting in terms of s 9 (1) of the Transport Services (Railways and Airways) (Transition) Act, No 15/1967, in the Transport Services (Airways) (Establishment of New Corporation) Notice, RGN 439/1967 dissolved and replaced it by a corporation of the same name. The name of the corporation was changed to the Air Rhodesia Corporation on 11 October 1968 by the Air Rhodesia Corporation Act No 32/1968. During the Zimbabwe Rhodesia era it was renamed the Air Zimbabwe Rhodesia Corporation. After independence, it was renamed the Air Zimbabwe Corporation by the Amendment of Laws Order, SI 236/1980.”

The pieces of legislature that deal with aviation law in Zimbabwe are the following:

• Air Services Act [Chapter 13:01]
• Aircraft (Offences) Act [Chapter 9:01]
• Aviation Act [Chapter 13:03]
• Carriage by Air Act [Chapter 13:04]
• Civil Aviation Act [Chapter 13:16]

In Zimbabwe the term aircraft also includes, aeroplanes, airships, balloons, flying machines, aeroplanes, seaplanes, flying boats and all other aircraft designed to be heavier than the air.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (herein referred to as the CAAZ) was established through the Civil Aviation Act [Chapter 13:16] to promote safe, secure and efficient usage of the airspace and the national airports system in an environmentally compliant manner.

Zimbabwe as a signatory to many international conventions has international obligations which are implemented through the CAAZ. The CAAZ ensures that service providers in the aviation industry comply with Civil Aviation Standards which are developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (herein referred to as ICAO).

It is useful to point out that Zimbabwe is a party to the following international conventions:

Conventions dealing with Aviation Safety and Facilitation of International Commercial Air Transport

• The Chicago Convention 1944

Conventions Dealing with Security:

• The Tokyo Convention, 1963
• The Hague Convention, 1970
• The Montreal Convention, 1971

Conventions Dealing with Liabilities in Respect Of Passengers

• Warsaw Convention, 1929
• Guatemala City Protocol, 1971
• Montreal Protocol, 1975
• Hague Protocol, 1955
• Guadalajara Convention, 1961

Conventions dealing with Liabilities in Respect of Third Parties

• Rome Convention, 1952
• Montreal Protocol, 1978

Conventions dealing with recognition of Property Rights in Aircraft

• Geneva Convention, 1948

Conventions dealing with International Interests in Mobile Equipment

• Cape Town Convention, 2001

With regards to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Finance (together referred to as the Convention), and in accordance with Article 49 (2) of the Convention, the Convention shall come into force in Zimbabwe to aircraft equipment when Zimbabwe accedes to the Aircraft Equipment Protocol, as Zimbabwe has only deposited its accession of the Convention.

Disclaimer: While care has been taken to ensure that this publication is accurate, Kanokanga & Partners accepts no liability for any prejudice, loss or, damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein. The contents of this publication are for general information purposes only. The purpose of this publication does NOT constitute our legal or professional advice. Readers are advised not to act on the basis of the information contained herein alone. Every situation depends on its own facts and circumstances.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, the information provided in this guide is collected from several sources such as the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and others

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