AIR Zimbabwe’s (AirZim) plans to acquire a new fleet of aeroplanes is now in limbo amid claims that the board and management are at loggerheads on how to execute the deal, NewsDay has learnt.
Source: AirZim planes order in limbo – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 6, 2017
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Six months ago, the airline appointed a new executive comprising of Ripton Muzenda as chief executive officer and President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore as chief operating officer in a move meant to turnaround the struggling airline’s fortunes.
But, insiders said they were fierce fights between the board and the new management team.
“The working relationship between the board and management has not been very smooth and this is delaying the finalisation of plans to acquire new planes. The two sides do not have a similar strategy in rescuing the airline,” the source said.
But, AirZim board chairperson, Chipo Dyanda, dismissed the claims of schisms between board and management as the “work of detractors”.
“It’s not true that we are not working well. These are rumours from people who want to distract us. We have not finalised on the turnaround strategy, which we started two weeks ago,” she said.
Dyanda said the turnaround strategy will have to be submitted to the Transport minister after its finalisation and adoption.
“The strategic document that we produce has to be discussed at an all-stakeholders’ meeting and get the approval of the government before we start implementing it,” she said.
The national airline is struggling to open new routes, as it currently has three planes operational that are expected to service both domestic and regional routes.
Locally, the airline flies on the Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Falls route and the Harare-Kariba-Victoria Falls route.
AirZim currently flies to three regional destinations – Johannesburg, Lusaka and Dar es Salaam.
AirZim’s failure to adequately serve the market has seen the entrance of new players such as Rainbow and fastjet, who are now competing directly with it.
On the other hand, South African Airways (SAA) is increasing its weekly frequencies to Zimbabwe.
SAA flies directly to Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Other international carriers like Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines have shown interest in flying directly to Victoria Falls after its recently relaunched international terminal.