Tuesday, 24 October 2017

AIRZIM ISOLATED OVER DEBTS

The $4.5 million arrears owed to the International Air Travel Association (IATA) have isolated the national flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe from the world aviation body and made it difficult for the airline to enter into alliances with top aviation companies.

Challenges of the huge domestic debt, operational inefficiencies and limited route network also stand out as affecting desired results, according to travel and tourism stakeholders.
Erratic flying schedules, high employment costs, retrenchments, declining annual passengers, ballooning debt and limited routes sums up the story of the country’s national flag carrier.

All these setbacks have combined not only to make the airline a perennial loss maker but to also weigh heavily on its ability to play its expected role in the domestic economy.
While the acquisition of the new airlines and the rebranding of the entity have brought hope, the reluctance by the responsible authorities in clearing the $4.5 million IATA arrears have meant that the airline cannot enter into alliances and partnerships with other airlines.

Tourism stakeholders say inefficiencies, failure to invest in modern fleet and the unenviable corporate culture remains hurdles that need to be overcome.

According to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Chairperson, Mr Dexter Nduna at least $1.3 billon is required to resuscitate the airline, highlighting the antiquated machinery as a major setback.

The current challenges can be overcome if there are concerted efforts by all involved parties in the turnaround of the entity.

The political will and a directive from cabinet for the responsible ministry to move with speed in securing strategic partners should provide basis for the resuscitation of the struggling airline. 

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