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Air Zimbabwe debt balloons to US$188 million

by Staff Reporter
11 Feb 2013 at 20:04hrs | Views
Air Zimbabwe's debt has ballooned to US$188 million, further dampening hopes of securing a strategic partner to help the airline resume full operations.

The national airline's debt has accumulated to US$188 million from US$140 million despite the resumption of local and regional flights that had been suspended.

The airline is relying on a Boeing 767, a Boeing 737 and MA60 airplanes to service its regional and domestic routes while 5 other airplanes need servicing before hitting the skies.

Presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport, Communication and Infrastructure, interim Air Zimbabwe Board Chairman, Mr Munesu Munodawafa, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development, said government has been working closely with management to try and improve the airline's domestic and regional connectivity but the biggest challenge is the huge debt overhang.

The national flag carrier managed to retire part of its debt mostly to South African creditors after a US$8,5 million cash injection from government last year.

However, as things stand right now, at least US$158 million is required for Air Zimbabwe to pay international creditors and resume international flights.

Other problems bedevilling the national flag carrier include mismatch between the small fleet and its bloated staff and the old age of the planes.

Meanwhile, a new board of directors for the airline is set to be announced on the 22nd of February after the parastatal went for more than a year without a substantive board.

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Source - zbc
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