The Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development says the disbanding of Air Zimbabwe and the taking over of its debt by government is a strategic move aimed at reviving the countryâ€™s ailing air service provider and is in line with international trends.
Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development on the state of affairs at Air Zimbabwe, Minister Nicholas Goche said the disbanding of the national air line last week and the setting up of the six-member interim board is meant to revitalise the debt-ridden company and is in line with international trends.Minister Goche said the move will also pave way for investors to come on board as the disbanding will ensure the viability and profitability of the airline which had five units, of which three never operated.
He explained that the National Handling Service is the only unit which realised profit which was however chewed up by the passenger unitâ€™s debts.
â€œThe disbanding will indeed create an environment that will increase viability and restore customer confidence. This is what other airlines do, no national airline is profitable so this move is strategic. We will take over the passenger debt and other local debts,â€ said CdeÂ Goche.
Cde Goche also revealed that the servicing of the foreign debt and salaries will be given priority before anything else.
Government last week dissolved Air Zimbabwe Holdings and formed a new state-owned company, Air Zimbabwe Private Limited.
The national airline is riddled with a US$150 million debt. US$30 million is owed to foreign creditors with the remainder being owed to various parastatals.
The company has failed to pay its 1 360 workers for over three months.
In January, an Air Zimbabwe plane was impounded in London by an American firm over a US$1 million debt. The plane was later released after government intervened to offset the debt.