Airzim crafts turnaround strategy

HARARE - Air Zimbabwe (Airzim) is crafting a turnaround strategy that involves the purchase of modern aircraft to replace its ageing fleet.

Edmund Makona, the national airline’s acting chief executive, yesterday said the company is focused on effectively utilising existing resources and is in the process of rehabilitating some of its airplanes.

“At the moment we have two types of  aircraft — Boeing 767 and 737-200 — which are undergoing C-check and they should be up in a month or so,” he said. C-checks are performed approximately every 20–24 months or a specific amount of actual flight hours as defined by the manufacturer.

He said the airline would have five planes operating by November Makona noted that while Airzim’s planes are old, they had not exhausted their full capacity.

“The Boeing 767 fleet was procured in 1989 and has a 77 000 cycles limit of validity, but has only done 40 000 cycles while the MA60s have 60 000 cycles limit of validity, but we have only done about 7 000 cycles,” he said.

But, according to aviation experts, Airzim’s fleet is exceptionally old and this could have significant effects on its reputation. The average age of its fleet is about 20 years while other international airlines such as Emirates have an average fleet age of six years.

Airzim, which requires close to $368 million to recapitalise its operations and clear debts, made a loss of $44, 8 million due to short routes, high fuel costs and aged equipment.

However, Makona said under-utilisation of aircraft at the national flag carrier negatively impacted on the company’s operations and bottom line.

“After the turnaround, you will be looking at Air Zimbabwe that will fully utilise its resources,” he said.

“Going forward we are looking at fleet modernisation, depending on the resources available,” added Makona.

This comes as Transport minister Obert Mpofu recently said talks were underway with a number of airlines and aircraft manufacturers on the possibility of acquiring additional aircraft and partners for Airzim to grow its fleet in the face of growing competition.

“While in China, we were able to discuss with potential partners for Air Zimbabwe and negotiations are continuing,” he said.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.