Air Zimbabwe gets substantive board

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter

President Mnangagwa has approved the appointment of six people to be substantive board members of Air Zimbabwe, taking over from an interim board that was appointed a year ago.

The substantive board is chaired by Dr Silvano Gwarinda, a versatile and hands-on air transport professional with close to 40 years working experience in key strategic positions in marketing and sales development, commercial planning, bilateral air services negotiations, route network development, tourism and aviation consultancy and tourism and academic industries.

He holds a PhD in Air Transport and Tourism Management from the University of Westminster, London.

Dr Gwarinda is deputised by Ms Ruth Raina Hungwe-Rukarwa, a business development specialist with vast strategic marketing experience.

The other board members are former Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Edmund Murambiwa Makona, chartered financial analyst, banker, investment expert and commercial lawyer Mr Lawrence Simbarashe Musendekwa, registered legal practitioner who has worked in the aviation industry for years Mr Ticharwa Garabga and an auditor and shareholder representative in the board Ms Mucharemba Kahombe.

The seventh board member, a woman, will be appointed soon.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona announced the appointment of the board today.

“It is my great honour and privilege, to preside over this meeting where we are witnessing the appointment of the substantive board of directors for the Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd,” he said.

“The substantive board takes over from the interim board, exactly one year and 23 days since the day we appointed the interim board to take over the strategic leadership role of Air Zimbabwe from the administrator, Mr Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton on 8 July 2021.

“As you are all aware, Air Zimbabwe was placed under Administration in terms of the Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act [Chapter 24:27] from 4 October 2018 to 30 June 2021. Mr Saruchera and his team implemented a scheme of reconstruction until 30 June 2021, whereupon we appointed the outgoing interim board on 8 July 2021.”

Minister Mhona said air transport was playing an important role in furthering the development aspirations of Zimbabwe.

“Allow me to emphasise from the outset that under the new dispensation led by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, air transport plays an integral role in contributing towards the achievement of an Upper Middle-Income Economy by the year 2030,” he said.

“Indeed, air transport, through the exploits of Air Zimbabwe, our flag carrier, plays a critical role in enabling this endeavour. The growth of Air Zimbabwe facilitates the opening and connection to markets, facilitates trade and enables industries to link into global supply chains.”

Minister Mhona said although the brand of Air Zimbabwe had been somewhat affected through the turbulence of yesteryear, they were not resting until the airline was fully revived and primed for a solid recovery trajectory.

“In that sense, we are fully committed towards ensuring that this national asset called Air Zimbabwe gains a lot of ground in terms of market share, integrity, brand image and world class service delivery,” he said.

“While events of yesteryear left the national airline at the brink of collapse, we, however, thank the visionary and able leadership of the Second Republic, ably led by our President Cde Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, who has given a new impetus to the national airline by instituting measures which placed it under administration, midwifed it out of the same, and successfully rescued it through Treasury support, for it to remain afloat up to this day.

“The shareholder has continued to support this key asset and enabler for trade, investment and tourism.”

Minister Mhona said as a show of support and commitment to the recovery process, government approved the implementation of the Air Zimbabwe six-year Strategic Turnaround Plan, which blueprint is already in operation, albeit with a few adjustments in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted businesses across the world.

He said the blueprint was expected to propel the operations of Air Zimbabwe towards growth, sustainability and profitability.

“It is our hope that the substantive board will move in with speed, familiarise themselves with the same, align the strategic plan to their priorities and strategy, with the view to chart a way forward which will enhance business of the airline,” said Minister Mhona.

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