Air Zim to lease new plane, minister Matiza pledges to spearhead turn-around strategy

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Report by Clayton Masekesa in Mutare and Vannesa Mhizha in Harare

  • The immediate focus is to create a strong domestic and regional feeder network
  • Minister Matiza said his office will continue to push for successful implementation of the turn around strategies at the national airline.

NATIONAL airliner Air Zimbabwe will dry lease the B777-200ER aircraft which was welcomed to the local skies Monday, Zim Morning Post can report.

 Dry leasing is an arrangement whereby an aircraft financing entity (lessor), provides an aircraft without crew and other supporting staff.

Air Zimbabwe public relations official Firstime Vhitori told Zim Morning Post Tuesday, that the move to lease the 15-year-old Malaysian acquired bird, is in accordance with the flag carrier’s Strategic Turnaround Plan. 

“We took delivery of the  B777-200ER, and by virtue of its size and capacity as a long-haul aircraft, it will be deployed to service some regional but mostly international routes with an initial focus on London and Asian destinations. 

However,  the immediate focus is to create a strong domestic and regional feeder network coupled with code sharing partnerships in order to achieve the expected passenger loads for the long haul routes.

In the short-term as outlined at the welcome reception, the national airline will pursue other revenue generation options such as dry leasing,” Vhitori said.

This was reinforced by Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza who vowed to personally superintend the successful turn around of Air Zimbabwe.

In his opening remarks at the three-day strategic planning workshop held at a Mutare hotel Wednesday, Matiza said his office will continue to push for successful implementation of the turn around strategies at the national airline.

“Allow me to acknowledge the continued operations of Air Zimbabwe regardless of the challenges it is facing from a financial point of view.

“My office will continue to push for the successful implementation of the strategy,” Matiza explained.

He said he was in consultation with Air Zimbabwe management with a view of considering more strategies for increasing revenue collection and attract more clients in line with its planned financial projections.

The 282-seater is ideal for intercontinental flights and is expected to contribute significantly towards the growth of the national airline and spur business opportunities for the country especially in the tourism sector.

Air Zimbabwe has been lagging behind in being a strong competitor in Africa and remains encircled by a plethora of problematic issues that have curtailed its prosperity and expansion in decades.

The single aircraft the national airliner had, was a Boeing 767 which is around 30 years old and with the current state of economy, the purchase of the 15-year-old bird was noble.

“Given the poor airline management and a whole host of other concerns, we are not the best candidates for new aircraft purchases.

“I would have preferred a lease instead of outright purchase.

“Leasing is a respected strategic option in aviation,” opined former Harare mayor Ben Manyenyeni.

Fastjet leases Embraer jets from Solenta Aviation for their Zimbabwe operations.

According to some aviation experts, Air Zimbabwe’s latest buy is ideal for intercontinental flights and is expected to contribute significantly towards the growth of the national airline and spur business opportunities for the country especially in the tourism sector.

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