Iata lifts AirZim suspension

HARARE - The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has re-registered Air Zimbabwe (Airzim) after an eight-month suspension.

Munesu Munodawafa, the Transport ministry’s permanent secretary, yesterday said the national airline was re-admitted after passing the association’s operational safety audit (Osa).

“Air Zimbabwe was deregistered after the airline had temporarily discontinued operations and therefore failed to conduct the audit as scheduled,” he told businessdaily.

The national flag carrier was struck off Iata’s register in September last year  after failing to comply with standard safety rules and was given up to a year to put its house in order.

Pursuant to that, Munodawafa said Airzim went through an audit programme from December 17 to 21, 2012, after which it had 12 months to address irregularities that had been identified.

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

The Association conducts operational safety audits of its members — which entail assessing an airline’s operational systems, operation of flights, boarding procedures and other aircraft safety matters.

The audit, done every two years, is carried out by firms accredited to IATA at the expense of the national airline seeking certification.

The auditors, who come from various countries worldwide, include experts in the global aviation industry such as aircraft engineers, pilots, accountants and cargo operators who are former senior airline workers.

If Airzim had failed the assessment, industry experts say the airline would have been barred from using international airports and air spaces of other countries.

“As an Osa registered operator, Airzim retains its Iata membership, meets part of the requirements to attract strategic partners with world-class airlines, meets high safety standards, while realising notable costs savings and operational efficiency,” said Munodawafa.

Airzim becomes the 25th airline in sub-Saharan Africa to be on Iata’s register. There are 34 registered airlines in Africa.

The national flag carrier which  resumed  regional flights in November last year — recently indicated that it had opened talks with an unidentified party for delivery of an Airbus 380 which is expected to restart its Harare-London route that it abandoned after creditors threatened to attach its planes due to overdue debts.

As part of Airzim’s efforts to restore viability following years of decline – precipitated by the country’s challenging economic environment — the parastatal recently sent over 600 employees on forced leave.

The parastatal is aiming for optimum use of personnel for the next six months after which it will review progress in revitalisation and recapitalisation. - Business Writer

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