Government took delivery today, of the first additional aircraft, an Embraer ERJ145 purchased from the United States of America, as plans to revive Air Zimbabwe gather momentum.
The 50-seater jet is expected to go through the local registration process as well as all mandatory checks, tests and certification before it enters into service within the next 21 days.
All crew and engineers licensed for the aircraft have been drawn from within the current human capital pool.
Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza briefed Cabinet on the delivery of the aircraft this morning. The plane arrived at 9am this morning. ""This marks a significant step in efforts to revive the national airline," said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa in the weekly Cabinet update.
The national Airline has gone through a cocktail of operational challenges which prompted government to place the company under the administration of Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton in October last year, whose mandate is to turnaround the bottom line of the national Airline.
According to the Air Zimbabwe Strategic Turnaround Plan (STP) for 2019-2024, the turnaround of the national Airline to profitability is premised on the successful implementation of four key pillars and commitment from all key stakeholders.
The company is burdened with a debt overhang of over $380m as at October 4, 2018, the bulk of which is to government and government related institutions. It is expected that Government will assume the debt, which will ultimately lead to the reconfiguration of the balance sheet. This will allow the company to service the remaining debt owed to private companies and individuals as well as meet its current operational expenses.
Air Zimbabwe has tabled a proposal for the disposal of redundant and obsolete equipment which includes aircrafts and spare parts for equipment which is no longer in service. The disposal is expected to raise the much needed funds for recapitalisation and procurement of additional equipment.
The company also requires to procure the right sized equipment for the current and planned route network. The first phase of the STP requires narrow bodied aircraft such as the Embraer ERJ145 to ply the domestic and regional routes with increased frequencies for the convenience of the travelling public as well as feeding into the planned international routes. This expanded route network will see the procurement of wide bodied aircraft in the second phase.
According to Government, the successful implementation of the STP is expected to restore the legacy of the company's schedule integrity and its lost market share for revenue enhancement and ultimately a positive bottom line.