Saturday, 6 October 2018

Air Zimbabwe goes into administration in desperate bid to resuscitate the struggling airline

The commercial aviation industry in Zimbabwe saw an interesting turn this week when it was confirmed in official reports that the government has appointed an independent administrator to take over the day to day running of the loss-making national airline.

Air Zimbabwe has been struggling to turn a profit for quite some time and has amassed more than $300 million in debts, including to foreign creditors and had faced a very uncertain future. The airline had been forced to axe most international routes, ground and store three of its current fleet, leaving just three in an airworthy and operational condition. 

Chartered accountant Reggie Saruchera has been appointed by Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to work as 'administrator' of Air Zimbabwe in an effort to turn the fortunes around for the ailing air company.  Saruchera has been granted the power to “raise money in any way without the authority of shareholders for the purposes of the reconstruction,” of the airline and it is hoped positive signs will become visible early next year.

 The government announced back in April this year it had purchased two Boeing 777s from Malaysia, along with a smaller Embraer aircraft for future development of Air Zimbabwe. However, the government said the airframes would be leased out until Air Zimbabwe returned to profitability. 

On Friday, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the government was hoping to sell stakes in Air Zimbabwe and other state-owned companies under a package of reforms. That could be a risky strategy, historically the airline failed to garner investment from the private sector and few companies would be willing to invest in an operation with so much debt. 

(Images Air Zimbabwe)