Air Zim’s rebirth . . . small planes delivery set for October

Air Zimbabwe expected to take delivery of six aeroplanes

Air Zimbabwe expected to take delivery of six aeroplanes

Africa Moyo Business Herald
AIR ZIMBABWE is expected to take delivery of six smaller aircraft next month as Government heightens efforts to revive the struggling national flag carrier, The Herald Business has learnt.

Under the deal, Government is not buying brand new planes because of funding constraints, but would lease them. The source of the smaller aircraft — which carry up to 50 passengers — remains a closely guarded secret but it is understood that they would be coming from ECC Leasing. ECC Leasing, which was established in 2002 to manage and market pre-owned aircraft, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Brazilian firm, Embraer.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo, confirmed to The Herald Business this week that the smaller planes would be coming sometime next month, but declined to divulge further details.

“I want to bring them in October; so towards the end of the month (September), if we get in touch, I will tell you when I will be bringing them in. I would need more publicity for them at that point,” said Dr Gumbo. At the end of July this year, Dr Gumbo told our sister paper The Sunday Mail Business that he was in advanced negotiations with a supplier of smaller aircrafts but rejected reports that he was talking to Embraer.

“The issue at hand is that the planes that I think we may lease are (like) Embraers because they are small and they carry about 50 passengers.

“I can’t afford long-haul aircrafts for the region. I am in the middle of negotiations to lease planes; that is a fact. I realised that partnerships may give us headaches . . . I want to keep the national flag (on the planes), so leasing would be ideal . . .

“The negotiations are very advanced at the moment . . . I am looking for a minimum of six smaller planes to ply regional routes. “These smaller planes would feed passengers into the long-haul aircraft that would be plying long distance routes.” Some of the targeted regional and international destinations are Angola, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore.

The coming in of the new planes has been advocated for by many aviation experts for a long time, who argue that it was not economic to fly long-haul planes into the region, particularly when they are never full most of the time.

Air Zimbabwe is battling to restore passenger confidence following years of under-performance marred by delayed departures and cancelled flights. Government is now understood to be keen on changing the national airliner’s name to Zimbabwe Airways, which would be a new debt-free Phoenix rising out of the ashes of Air Zimbabwe.

Air Zimbabwe’s huge debt of about $334 million is turning off most technical partners, hence the desire to create a new company that would be attractive not only to potential partners, but also in the eyes of passengers.

Cabinet recently decided to hive off Air Zimbabwe’s legacy debt; together with other key parastatals such as Ziscosteel, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Civil Aviation of Zimbabwe (Caaz), to allow them to reinvent themselves. For Air Zimbabwe, it appears as if the revival is gathering momentum with the deal to acquire six smaller aircrafts and about four long-haul planes.

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  • Profmununhema

    nothing new in this piece of joined letters and words. There is no success we will realise if the same people think they can change themselves.

  • Wilson Magaya

    A very good idea but I am wondering why the minister is speaking on this and not the CEO? I would have thought that the CEO would speak on the turn-around and the minister will grace the and officiate at the unveiling of the equipment and launch of a rebranded air Zimbabwe. I think the ideas are great and the future looks good but of course there are still a lot of issues to deal with like the employment issues, retrenchments and reinstatements. How is it so difficult to lay off people at AirZim yet the city of Harare retired over 2000 before their time who have never received a single cent of their pension?

    All said and done this is a good idea and looking forward to execution and the minister taking a few steps back and letting the CEO do his job. “Nyika Vanhu, Musha Matare” Set the tone and watch the magic happen

    • General Nundo

      this should be the case. look all parastaals and public enterprises the Minister or board chair speak on behalf of the company not the CEO.

      • mhofela

        What do you mean “should be the case”?

      • Wilson Magaya

        Interesting you think this should be the case. Why do you think so?

  • Chitova62

    Corr blimey; what a ludicrous idea by Hon Minister Jorum! I wonder who in their right minds would wanna fly in those minuscule planes ✈️!?

  • Hombarume

    We heard about it in July that those planes are Gushungos.
    Simba facilitates the leasing of the planes from Grace and Co. thats the new strategy to get money out of airzim.
    I said it of Zim Airways when it was published, now its the manifestation.
    Also there is no problem with big aeroplanes, problem is with prices. $50 departure fee is too much. Its more than some flight fees from Joburg to Cape Town (1600km).
    The trick is make flying easy and affordable. Remove business class and make sure its full and dont cancel flights.

  • yowe

    If you want Air Zimbabwe to revive operations GO AND REGISTER TO VOTE AND VOTE!!!

    It is insanity to actual believe anything of substance will come out of Zanu Pf

    • Madara

      it might be too late for the country. elections are too far away.

  • Madara

    yes, so let them choose another airline. I bet they dont choose airzim anyways. just become a budget airline like fastjet. most of their flights are short ones anyways. keep business class on the long distance aircrafts

    • sky

      I hope you don’t think the front section (business class) of air zim planes are the reason for the demise of the airline.

      • Madara

        of course not. but it doesnt help either. no one wants to fly on them when there are options such as fastjet who dont cancel flights and have huge delays etc

  • Fred Moyo

    Gumbo is saying I I I as if its his personal business!!

  • Fred Moyo

    nhai zvako!

  • mhofela

    The smaller Embraer jet is more ideal for thin routes than a B737.

  • mhofela

    Agreed. Kunge ndiye Air Zimbabwe wacho.