Air Zim to sweat assets | The Herald 14 October 2014
The national airline, Air Zimbabwe is looking at effective utilisation of available capacity as it implements its turnaround strategy, acting chief executive Mr Edmund Makona has said.
Addressing journalists during a breakfast meeting yesterday, Mr Makona said their immediate focus was to ensure that they sweat the available resources, which he said had been underutilised.
“We need to ensure that we sweat our assets as dictated in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation before we even think of acquiring new aeroplanes,” he said.
Mr Makona said although the available aeroplanes are old in terms of years, they still have a lot of life in terms of maximum life in flight hours (cycles).
“Air Zimbabwe has not been fully utilising its aircraft,” he said. He said their Boeing 767s and 737 have a maximum life of 75 000 cycles but have done only 14 000 cycles and 37 000 cycles respectively and the MA60 has done about 10 000 cycles against a maximum of 60 000.
He said that at the moment they were using three aeroplanes one 737, 767 and an MA60 while an additional two were expected to come back into service soon. “We have a 767 and 737 that are undergoing a C-Check.
“The 767 will be available in three weeks while the 737 will be complete in a month’s time,” he said.
The additional capacity, he said will enable the airline to expand its route network with an announcement due to be made soon.
He said increasing routes will enable the airline to address the challenges of increased fuel uptake due to their advanced age as well as resolving other issues such as internal and external debts, cases of litigation being brought by former employees.
Mr Makona said as they roll out emphasis will be on using the right equipment for each route.
He also emphasised that their primary objective was to ensure safety of their operations according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) safety recommendations.
Air Zimbabwe is fully certified, with another IATA safety audit scheduled for 2016.
“We are committed to the turnaround process, we have said to ourselves that we will not achieve a meaningful turnaround if we do not prioritize safety,” he said.
Air Zimbabwe, which recorded a $44,7 million loss in 2013, has been struggling to pay its employees and meeting its obligations over the years.