In a bid to resuscitate its ailing national airline, Air Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean government has rolled out plans to overhaul the struggling and debt-ridden flag carrier, reports The Independent.
According to the report, the new plan will see Treasury expunging the airline’s legacy debts by liquidation before acquiring new planes from Asia and rebranding to Zimbabwe Airways.
After various attempts to woe new investors hit a brick wall due to Air Zimbabwe's rising debt profile, Zimbabwean government is now seeking partnerships with international airlines to turn around the airline.
According to the report, Ethiopian Airlines has expressed it willingness and readiness to cooperate with the government of Zimbabwe to resuscitate the ailing national airline.
“It all depends on the political will of the government of Zimbabwe, and on how they want to put it, whether it is going to be a joint venture or management consultancy. Ethiopian Airlines is ready for all that,” said the Managing Director of Ethiopian Airlines (international services), Esayas Woldemariam.
Zimbabwe's Transport Minister, Joram Gumbo is reportedly in Malaysia, where he is attending a series of meetings to negotiate the acquisition of new aircraft for Air Zimbabwe.
In 2011, Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 737-500 was impounded in South Africa after failing to settle a US$500 000 debt owed to Bid Air Services for ground handling services.
In the same year, its Boeing 767-200, was seized by American General Supplies in London over a US$1,2 million debt. The plane was later released after the airline paid the debt, but Air Zimbabwe immediately stopped flying to London, one of its most lucrative routes.
Air Zimbabwe has continued to struggle, operating at losses and accumulating debts. At independence in 1980, the airline had 18 planes in its fleet, but today it is operates only 4 active planes in its fleet.