Air Zim mulls leasing aircraft

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Distressed national airline Air Zimbabwe is considering leasing additional aircraft from other airlines to service its regional and international routes which are currently not being serviced due to the strike by its pilots.

Air Zimbabwe, whose pilots resorted to industrial action to protest against poor remuneration, was considering leasing aircraft to ply international routes which include Harare-London and Harare-Beijing.

Air Zimbabwe board chair Jonathan Kadzura said: “If the strike continues, we will have to lease aircraft from other airlines. At the moment we are still making enquiries and we are looking at the feasibility and financial impact of leasing the aircraft.”

Already Air Zimbabwe is leasing Zambezi Airlines to service the Harare-Johannesburg route and recently added the Harare-Victoria Falls route.

Air Zimbabwe pilots embarked on industrial action on March 22 and are still on strike demanding payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.

The pilots were last summoned by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development and they vowed not to go back to work until their grievances were addressed.

Kadzura on Sunday said: “Nothing had changed as of yesterday as the pilots were still on strike and we still don’t have money to give them.”

Air Zimbabwe flies two 767s on the Harare-China and Harare-London routes.

The airline also has three 737s which service regional routes including flights to South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Domestic routes are mainly plied by Chinese Xian MA 60 craft. Air Zimbabwe is a perennial loss-maker whose woes are compounded by an ageing fleet, which needs replacement.