IATA to finalise Air Zim audit

HARARE - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) team, which arrived in the country late last year, is finalising audit of Air Zimbabwe (Air Zim)’s compliance with the aviation safety guidelines and preparedness to resume international flights.

The airline failed the IATA test early last year.

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.

Shingai Taruvinga, Air Zim spokesperson, said the IATA team – which comprises aviation specialists, engineers, retired pilots and expert accountants – is at an advanced stage of the audit.

The evaluation involves assessing Air Zim’s operations – from the booking systems, financial books to the state of aircraft.

“The audit is progressing well and the team will be publishing the results soon once they are done,” Taruvinga said.

For the last two years, the national airline has been plagued by woes, including a massive debt and a series of industrial actions by pilots, cabin crew and ground staff.

The airline’s debt is more than $149 million.

Since the introduction of the IOSA certification, 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 2011 due to mounting debts. - John Kachembere

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