Air Zimbabwe is set to be restructured amid concerns that the national carrier was bleeding State coffers through loans and subsidies, with no hope of resuscitation, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister, Jorum Gumbo has said.
Gumbo said discussions were underway to restructure Air Zimbabwe and management has been warned to shape up or ship out. “If it means starting afresh, let it be, we can’t have such a work culture at Air Zimbabwe and hope that the airline can run again. We are working to ensure that we restructure, reorganise Air Zimbabwe. I can’t say much at the moment,” he said.
According to the progress report of the ministry’s 100 days target, Gumbo said $1,5 million was required for re-aligning staff and re-organisation of the State entity, which has a debt of over $370 million.
“Its books are just bad. The management needs to up the game but it is now difficult. We can’t continue to pump resources into a bottomless pit. Something has to be done,” Gumbo said.
Air Zimbabwe has two planes running and it has been stopped from hiring planes from outside, resulting in some flights being rescheduled.
AirZim, which at Independence in 1980 boasted of a fleet of 18 planes, is technically insolvent and operating at less than a third of that capacity.
The airline is reeling under a debt in excess of $330 million that has hampered efforts to engage strategic partners in a bid to retain and grow market share.
Gumbo, in his report, for the 100 days target, which his ministry undertook since the ascendency of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in November, list the commencement of works on the dualisation of Harare-Beitbridge road as a priority among other key projects.
On the dualisation project, the minister stated that the contractors were already in the country to commence works and part of the equipment has already been assembled for dispatch from South Africa.
“The contractors arrived in the country last Thursday and now what is left is for equipment, which is being assembled in South Africa to arrive probably next week,” Gumbo said.
He also stated that talks were underway for the Harare-Chirundu Road dualisation programme although he complained that the process had taken too long.
Other projects that were initiated in the 100 days of the new government, Gumbo said, include the dualisation of the Norton town to Norton tollgate road at the cost of $10 million.
The Transport ministry has also begun a feasibility study on the dualisation of Harare-Nyamapanda Road with a final report expected in July 2018.
The feasibility study, according to Gumbo, was expected to cost, $1,1 million and treasury was funding the process.