Wednesday, September 5, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Another exercise in futility as Government wants to put AirZim back in the sky "early next month".

The Zimbabwean Government cabinet is this week expected to meet in order to come up with a viable strategy capable of putting failed national carrier, Air Zimbabwe (UM), back in the air, with particular emphasis on returning it to international service. 

Air Zimbabwe's fleet in June 2012, Harare Airport
Air Zimbabwe's fleet in June 2012
Since then, debt ridden Air Zimbabwe has operated an erratic domestic service using a lone Boeing 737-200Adv, with customer care taking a back seat. Most recently, on a delayed flight from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls, passengers were told "the airline was operating manually and did not have passengers' information readily available. Hence they had to call their Harare office to telephonically confirm passengers' reservations who weren't carrying their tickets."

On the stage discussions over UM have reached at Cabinet level, Zimbabwean Secretary for Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development, Munesu Munodawafa, is quoted as saying:
“There are discussions going on in Government that are at an advanced stage. “As I have said, these developments are subject to Cabinet approval. The minister will issue a statement after Cabinet probably next week (this week).”

Munodawafa allured to a "number of unknown potential investors eager to partner Airzim" and who would "also consider the possible acquisition of some of the existing equipment deemed necessary by Air Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd." of which an Airbus A320 is confirmed to be a part, with a second awaiting registration.

To fill the void left, a number of local operators have applied for licences, the latest of which, Beks Safaris, joins a list of safari operators who have been forced into supplying their own transport, given Air Zimbabwe's erratic service record.

With service quality at an all time low, the Secretary failed to expand on any potential boardroom changes critical to seeing a viable Air Zimbabwe. Should the same incompetent deadwood, appointed simply on political merit and not actual expertise, remain in charge, then even with the latest 787s in its fleet, UM will still remain the same hopeless moribund basket case it is today.