Blessings Mashaya 2 February 2017
HARARE – Hard-pressed national airline, Air Zimbabwe (Air Zim), is
struggling to pay $3,5 million it owes the International Air Transport
Association (Iata), Parliament’s transport committee has said.
Iata suspended Air Zim from its account settlement system in 2012 due to
non-payment of fees, dealing a major blow to the airline that has been
battling to stay afloat for years.
The association’s system settles accounts between the world’s airlines,
airline-associated companies and travel agencies.
In a 2017 budget allocation report presented to Parliament, the transport
committee’s chairperson, Dexter Nduna, said government’s directive that
all of its officials must use Air Zim for external travel was not
feasible, as the airline is not registered with Iata.
“It was brought to the attention of this committee that despite the
government directive that officials must use Air Zim, the measure would
not derive the intended benefit since the airline is not registered with
Iata due to an outstanding $3,5 million in fees,” Nduna said.
“Consequently, the national airline is hamstrung in the number of routes
that it plies,” he said.
“Furthermore, the non-registration with Iata also works against the open
skies policy being pursued by the airline. Opening the airline to such
competition while hamstrung will drive it into extinction.”
About 240 airlines, representing approximately 84 percent of global
airline traffic, are registered with Iata.
According to Nduna, Iata is important for Air Zim’s growth and the failure
to pay the dues has exacerbated the airline’s isolation.
“Iata is a group that offers alliances, partnerships and air finances and
it means that Air Zimbabwe is now in isolation. Iata enables Air Zimbabwe
to have partnerships with other countries and you must know that this is
very important for the growth of our airline,” he said.
Nduna said the rehabilitation of the airport radar systems was also being
“(The) committee also inquired on the status of rehabilitation of the
airport radar systems. The officials informed (the) committee that
progress had been delayed by legal processes that nullified the previous
“The committee was assured that a call for tenders for both financing and
rehabilitation of the radar systems will be made this year,” he said.