Air Zimbabwe management says the national airline requires US$137,7 million to pay off its domestic and international debts and a further US$40 million working capital for the next six months for the national flag carrier to operate competitively.Presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals, Air Zimbabwe Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Innocent Mavhunga said the troubled airline urgently requires US$40 million to perform a restructuring exercise that shall see 400 employees retrenched.
He also highlighted that the money will also be used to refurbish the ageing airline fleet which he said has resulted in the parastatal experiencing a US$3,5 million operating deficit every month.
Mr. Mavhunga urged government to find a partner for Air Zimbabwe and allow the airlineâ€™s management to practice corporate governance principles without undue interference.
Air Zimbabwe management revealed that the airlineâ€™s problems worsened during the Zimbabwe dollar era as passengers were travelling virtually for free as it cost around US$5 for one to fly from Harare to Beijing.
He claimed Air Zimbabwe management had long recommended that the airline uses the multi-currency system but government resisted the move resulting in a huge debt being accrued.
State Enterprises and Parastatals Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Cde Larry Mavhima said the committee is not happy with the way the shareholder and the management of Air Zimbabwe have been running the airline saying his committee will write a report with recommendations to be tabled before parliament soon.
Air Zimbabwe has been facing by a number of problems including strikes by pilots that saw the airline grounding operations for six weeks mid this year.
The airline has not paid its employees since June.
The airline currently flies four times a week on its regional destinations which include Johannesburg, Lusaka and Lubumbashi, while it flies once a week to its international destinations which include Malaysia, China and London.