Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Government is realigning operations and organisational structures of Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways for both to operate under one board.
In an interview, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said a technical team had been tasked with developing the appropriate legal framework.
He said the current Air Zimbabwe board would either be changed or strengthened to run both Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways, currently under Zimbabwe Leasing Aviation Company.
Minister Gumbo said the decision was made possible by Government’s re-engagement policy with the international community.
“We have now come up with an arrangement after clearing the issue of sanctions, which has kept us on our toes. We are going to have one board that is going to run the affairs of Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways. Zimbabwe Airways is going to operate international routes while Air Zimbabwe will be operating locally and regionally,” he said.
“There shall be a transfer of the aircraft assets from the Zimbabwe Leasing Aviation Company (ZALC) to the new structure identified so that the aircraft purchased under ZALC are brought into operation, these include the four B777 purchased from Malaysia and the Embraer aircraft purchased from USA and wind up ZALC.
“We will develop a framework to takeover the debt of Air Zimbabwe and recommend a lean and efficient structure within, which the national airline should operate.”
Minister Gumbo then dismissed rumours that the Zimbabwe Airways aircraft were redundant.
He said what was holding the operations of the two fully-paid Zim Airways aircraft was the payment of $300 000 for the aviation operator’s licence by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which would enable the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe to issue their air certificates.
Turning to the efficiency of Air Zimbabwe, he said financial resources have to be committed to realise its efforts.
“The air transport market, from a domestic and regional perspective is dominated by small to medium range aircraft, which have a quick turnaround time and are fuel efficient. From an international perspective, new aircraft that are fuel efficient with low noise levels are the norm,” he said.
“Air Zimbabwe has been riddled with enumerable challenges, which range from inappropriate obsolete equipment, huge debt overhang, a bloated staff compliment, lack of up-to-date audited financial statements, mismanagement of the organisation, lack of financing from treasury, salary arrears for both current and retrenched/retired staff, lack of efficient and effective management.”