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Air Zimbabwe fleet expansion gets boost

by Staff reporter
04 Jun 2021 at 07:03hrs | Views
Air Zimbabwe's desire to expand its fleet by acquiring a second Embraer aircraft has received a major boost after Government released funds.

The purchase of a second ERJ145 is expected to widen the national airline's route network. On Wednesday, Air Zimbabwe resumed domestic flights using the ERJ145 aircraft, on a four times a week schedule on the triangular route between Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

The carrier had suspended flights since January last year due to operational problems and the clampdown on intercity movement under Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

In an interview yesterday, Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Ms Firstme Vitori said the purchase of another ERJ145 will balance the present fleet and assist in entering more regional and international routes.

"Government availed funding for the procurement of a second Embraer (ERJ145) as we aim to boost our fleet" she said "The coming in of this plane will assist in ensuring that we begin to add more regional and international routes. What we are trying to achieve with that is what we call fleet commonality.

"Fleet commonality is where we have aircraft of the same type that will help us reduce our maintenance bill and procurement of parts and accessories becomes easier."

Ms Vitori said the ERJ145 was best suited for domestic and regional routes due to its capacity and will create feeders that will culminate into a regional network route.

"We are planning to introduce the Beijing route as our first intercontinental route but we can only do that when we have a strong domestic network and we can only achieve this by having an efficient and trustable fleet, hence the procurement of this second plane is a timely boost to this transformation we are undertaking," she said. In a notice to stakeholders seen by The Herald, Government has approved a scheme for the reconstruction of Air Zimbabwe.

The application for the approval of the scheme of reconstruction was granted by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, on May 17 in terms of the Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvency Companies.

Air Zimbabwe is saddled with a $349million and US$31,5 million in local and external legacy debts, which saw it being placed under reconstruction in 2018.

Grant Thornton was appointed administrator to protect it from litigation and attachment of assets.

Apart from the ERJ145, Air Zimbabwe also has two B777-200 Extended Range (ER) that were purchased from Malaysia and a B767, which has done the country proud by flying to China to ferry stranded citizens and other ordinary citizens at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown last year.

This year, the B767 played a key in bringing Covid-19 vaccines, at a time when other regional airlines were grounded.

Source - the herald