[ACCI-CAVIE] The Zimbabwean government has allocated ZWL1.5 billion Zimbabwean dollars (USD4.1 million at RBZ rate) for the recapitalisation of Air Zimbabwe (UM, Harare Int’l), to be used towards the acquisition of new aircraft, route expansion, digitalisation, and a lean workforce.
This was disclosed by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube during his 2022 national budget speech on November 25. He said the recapitalisation was in support of the national airline’s six-year strategic turn-around plan.
“Air Zimbabwe is now a commercially viable company following the conclusion of the scheme of reconstruction in June 2021. This was achieved after approval by Cabinet of the national airline’s debt assumption and the settlement of its domestic debt and part of its foreign debt,” Ncube said. As reported previously, Harare had approved the airline’s reconstruction scheme in May 2021. The carrier’s liabilities had amounted to USD30 million in foreign debt and ZWL349 million (USD873,000) in local exposure. Domestic creditors were actually owed USD349 million, but their debts were converted to new Zimbabwe dollars at the official 1:1 rate.
“Going forward, the thrust is implementation and execution of the airline’s plan to ensure that it acquires requisite equipment, routes network expansion, invests in appropriate information communication technology (ICT) systems, and strengthens its competitiveness through the strategic deployment of a lean and professional workforce.
“In support of the turnaround plan, the 2022 National Budget is allocating ZWD1.5 billion for recapitalisation of the national airline towards operational costs and the acquisition of aircraft.”
Ncube said the allocation formed part of a ZWD60.8 billion (USD166 million) budget allocation to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to modernise the Southern African country’s transport network.
Apart from the recapitalisation of Air Zimbabwe, other ongoing projects included the upgrading and rehabilitation of airports; road rehabilitation and development; modernising technologies on tollgates; and upgrading railway infrastructure and border posts.
According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air Zimbabwe currently has a fleet of seven aircraft, including two A320-200, one B737-200, two B767-200(ER), one EMB-145LR, and one MA-60. Of these, only the EMB145, Z-WPQ (msn 145373), the B737-200, Z-WPA (msn 23677), and one B767-200(ER), Z-WPF (msn 24867), are in active service, the airline confirmed. For its widebody fleet, Air Zimbabwe also has two ex-Malaysia Airlines B777-200(ER)s parked in Harare.
The airline earlier confirmed that a second EMB145LR would be acquired to enable the airline to operate a wider regional network. Air Zimbabwe had initially planned to put a second regional jet into service during the second half of 2021 to re-introduce dormant regional routes. A company spokeswoman told ch-aviation the plans for the second jet “are still in place and the process is ongoing. An update will be given as soon as new information is available”.
She confirmed Z-WPQ was currently deployed on domestic routes, transborder to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo (South Africa), and on an ad hoc basis on charter operations to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). B737-200 Z-WPA primarily serves Dar es Salaam and on ad hoc charters on domestic routes while B767-200(ER) Z-WPF operates mainly long-haul charters.