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Zimbabwe Airways seeks $4.5m to rejoin IATA

by Staff reporter
10 Oct 2017 at 01:54hrs | Views
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development is seeking engagement with Treasury over the release of $4.5 million to settle Air Zimbabwe's debt to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Air Zimbabwe was suspended from the international air transport body in 2012 after failing to meet its financial obligations to the institution.

IATA's system settles accounts between the world's airlines, airline-associated companies and travel agencies. The portfolio committee's chairperson, Mr Dexter Nduna, who is also the legislator for Chegutu West, said in an interview yesterday that non-payment of the IATA debt was detrimental to Air Zimbabwe.

He said Air Zimbabwe's isolation from the world aviation body prejudiced the airline of alliances, partnerships and air finances enjoyed by IATA members.

"We are going to interrogate the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Patrick Chinamasa) during a Parliamentary stakeholders meeting to be held before November 15 to find out if Treasury has released the $4.5 million it allocated in the 2017 national budget to Air Zimbabwe to settle its debt to IATA," he said.

Last year, the Government issued a directive that all of its officials should use Air Zimbabwe for external travel. Mr Nduna is on record as saying that was not feasible as long as the airline remains unregistered with IATA.

Being a member of the IATA, he said, would ensure Zimbabwe has a robust and resilient economy generating a lot of revenue through the national airline's operations and belonging to the global aviation body.

"By not paying IATA, we are making sure our economy has stunted growth because there is no one using Air Zimbabwe or the airline cannot book its passengers on other airlines servicing the routes that it does not service.

"So, it is prudent that the debt is cleared to allow the airline to get re-admission by IATA.

"Air Zimbabwe cannot also re-introduce international routes like the Harare-London route before it clears that debt," he said.

Mr Nduna said failure to clear the IATA debt was because of misdirected priority by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

"If that debt hasn't been cleared by now, I think it is because of misdirected priority by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

"As a country, there is no reason for us to fail to clear a $4.5 million debt when we can prioritise the rehabilitation of our major airports for example, the $150 million Harare International Airport rehabilitation project," he said.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo could not be reached for comment as his phone was not being answered.

At present, about 240 airlines, representing approximately 84 percent of global airline traffic, are registered with IATA.

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Source - chronicle

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