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Mnangagwa's govt goes shopping for aircraft

by Staff reporter
16 Dec 2018 at 10:46hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has dispatched five aviation experts to Texas, the United States of America, where they are understood to be inspecting three Embraer E145 aircraft purchased by national airliner, Air Zimbabwe, as it seeks to breathe life into the flag carriers' comatose operations.

Nitty-gritties of the transaction could not be established by the time of going to print, but The Sunday Mail Business has gathered that two Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) airworthiness inspectors are currently in Texas reviewing paperwork and making a few checks on the aircraft before certifying them fit for delivery to Harare, potentially before the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza confirmed the developments last Friday but could not give more details.

"Yes, yes, they (Air Zimbabwe and Caaz officials) are there (in the US). We want to bring our aircraft; they are 180- seater (planes). I will call you later am in a meeting," said Eng Matiza.

A Caaz source could not provide details of the transaction but intimated that a deal was in the works.

"I am not in office at the moment, why don't you call the CEO (Mr David Chaota)? I don't think it's an issue he might not respond to" said the source.

Mr Chaota could not be reached for comment as he was reportedly in a meeting.

An official who answered his mobile, a P Govere, requested for questions in writing, which had not been responded to by the time of going to print.

A highly placed source at Air Zimbabwe, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the Press, confirmed that the parastatal had acquired three planes from the US.

"Yes, the planes have been acquired. I am surprised you only mention that there are two officials from Caaz who are in Texas, we also sent two or three."

Pressed to reveal the cost and size of the aircraft, the source referred further questions to Air Zimbabwe administrator Mr Reggie Saruchera.

When contacted for comment, Mr Saruchera appeared to be in the dark over the deal but asked for questions in writing to be sent through Air Zimbabwe's manager (for) corporate services, Mr Tafadzwa Mazonde.

The questions had not been responded to by the time of going to print.

Embraer SA is a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate which makes commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft and provides aeronautical services.

It is headquartered in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, and is the third-largest producer of civil aircraft, after Boeing and Airbus.

Experts say for Air Zimbabwe to fully recover, it requires smaller aircraft that carry about 50 people so that they ply regional and domestic routes and eventually move to international routes.

Air Zimbabwe, which is saddled with a massive legacy debt of about US$334 million, requires sound management if it is to become a profit-making entity.

Source - zimpapers