IATA to audit Air Zim

HARARE - Air Zimbabwe (Air Zim) says an International Air Transport Association (IATA) team is expected in the country next week to assess the airline’s compliance with international standards among other key aviation guidelines.

The airline, which is confident it will pass the audit, was given a 90-day ultimatum in August to comply.

IATA is a global aviation body that works with airline members and the air transport industry to promote safe, reliable, secure and economical air travel for the benefit of travellers.

The world aviation body conducts biennial International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), which measures an airline’s system of operations, covering the operation of flights, boarding procedures and other aircraft safety matters.

To retain IATA membership, members must submit and pass the audit.

“We have enough confidence that we will be very successful on the audit. We have done it in the past and we are likely to do it again,” said Air Zim spokesperson Shingai Taruvinga.

Taruvinga emphasised the importance of the audit and said Air Zim hoped to be on the IOSA register by March next year.

“The audit is now a prerequisite for all airlines and it endorses the safety and efficiency of airlines. We have put everything in place to ensure that we sail through the audit without any problems,” she said.

Since the introduction of the IOSA certification, the IATA says there have been improvements in the hull loss rate, an issue it said was of significant importance in the building of safe and sustainable aviation in Africa.

IATA has expressed its willingness to assist Air Zim in renewing its IOSA certification and also benefit from the financial and other services its members participate in.

Contrary to reports, IATA said Air Zim remained a member, but risked expulsion.

“IATA remains committed to developing aviation on the African continent. Safety is a key component in ensuring that Zimbabwe can benefit from all that safe skies can bring,” said Mike Higgins, IATA Regional Vice President for Africa.

Air Zim, currently running a special return fare of $317 fare for its Harare to Johannesburg flight and $420 for the Johannesburg to Harare, is slowly drawing back customers.

Meanwhile, the airline has put in place a plan to pay off its $2,8 million debt owed to a European navigation agency, which will see the it resume the Harare-London route early next year.

Air Zim suspended flights to London in December last year. Its debts amount to over $140 million. - John Kachembere

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