271010 An Emirates plane parked at King Shaka airport. It has been a very good year for the international airline’s Durban-Dubai air route. Picture: Zanele Zulu

Emirates airline said it will begin flying five times a week between Zimbabwe, Zambia and Dubai next year.

“In February 2012, Emirates will commence services five days a week from Harare and Lusaka to Dubai,” Emirates Group said in a newspaper advert seeking applications for staff to run its new operations.

Flag carrier Air Zimbabwe has downsized its services because of frequent strikes and huge debts as the company tries to maintain an ageing fleet.

Air Zimbabwe pilots went on strike for over five months this year over unpaid salaries and allowances as the airline is saddled with $100 million in debt.

Several international airlines, including EgyptAir, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Quantas stopped flights to Zimbabwe because of dwindling passenger numbers as tourists were scared off by political violence and food shortages.

Regional airlines like Air Malawi, Kenyan Airways and South African Airways are still flying to Zimbabwe. - Sapa-AFP