Zimbabwe’s national carrier, Air Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd, has added a Airbus A320, which is expected to ply the Harare-Johannesburg route, to its fleet.
The arrival of the new airbus follows the disbandment of Air Zimbabwe holdings to form a new state-owned company, Air Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd.
Zimbabwe’s Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister, Nicholas Goche, said the government took delivery of the Airbus before the disbandment of Air Zimbabwe holdings.
A new interim board chaired by Zimbabwe’s Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister, Permanent Secretary, Patson Mbiriri has been formed to oversee the set-up of the new company.
The airline is one of the parastatals the government is willing to privatise to restore its profitability. Air Zimbabwe is trying to restore its viability following years of decline characterised by industrial action by its workers, among other challenges.
The airline has been able to pay part of the debt it owes its South African creditors after government injected US$8.5 million into its operations last year. It s also in the process of regaining its IATA membership.
The airline’s board chairperson Ozias Bvute had told Parliament in March that AirZim will resume international flights to London in July this year after beefing up its fleet as part of its turnaround strategy.
“We have looked at route viability and we have identified the short-term routes that we think we want to concentrate on and ensure that those routes are managed and serviced properly for the benefit of our travelling partners,” Bvute had said.
Meanwhile, the A320 is a fly-by-wire modern aircraft with a configuration of 12 business class and 138 economy class seats.
The Airbus is currently undergoing routine maintenance and safety checks at the Harare International Airport.
Air Zimbabwe’s current fleet include two B767-200s, three B737-200s and three MA60s.
The airline’s spokesperson, Shingai Taruvinga, confirmed that another Airbus would be delivered soon.
“This plane will be plying our Johannesburg route,” she said.
Early this year, AirZim resumed daily flights to Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and Johannesburg.