Sunday, June 17, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Air Zimbabwe to get second A320?

Air ZimbabweUnconfirmed reports from Zimbabwe claim that troubled Zimbabwean flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe (UM), will "soon" lease a second Airbus A320 from China Sonangol International, in an attempt to revive the ailing airline's flagging fortunes. 

Air Zimbabwe received its first Airbus A320 (F-WTBL) on 16 January 2012, leased from SouthJet Two Limited, though it is uncertain as to what role the aircraft has actually played in servicing the airline's routes.

Air Zimbabwe A320 Airbus
Airbus A320 "F-WTBL" in Harare.

"Radio VOP was briefed this week that some representatives of the airline from the quality assurance department and some engineers on Saturday flew to France to carry out an aircraft acceptance inspection and finalise the paperwork processes before the delivery of the aircraft expected before next Tuesday."

Presently Air Zimbabwe is confined to flying domestic routes exclusively as the threat of repossession by unpaid creditors in the UK and South Africa is still very real. In April 2012, Robert Mugabe - the Zimbabwean President - was forced to return home from Malaysia aboard the leased Airbus, as opposed to Air Zimbabwe's Boeing 767s, as the latter was neither financially nor technically feasible.

It is therefore likely, that as part of its rejuvenation programme, Air Zimbabwe has chosen to use leased aircraft as opposed to buying them, as this theoretically will still allow Air Zimbabwe to operate foreign routes, albeit without the threat of repossession looming over their heads.

Air Zimbabwe A320 Airbus "F-WTBL"
Airbus A320 "F-WTBL" in Harare.
It should be noted however, that in the past, Air Zimbabwe has laid some wild claims to aircraft acquisition, most notably:
Both of which have turned out to be unfounded Big Talk.  

In a spin off effect, Zimbabwe's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAZ) has lamented the lost Passenger Tax revenues it has suffered as a consequence of Air Zimbabwe's demise.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe Board Chairperson, Advocate Jacob Mudenda said although the exact figures on the actual amount lost have not been put together the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development is looking into the issue and restructured Air Zimbabwe in an effort to bring efficiency that would see in improvement in revenue inflows for organisations that have been affected.
Read More Here [ZBC News]