Air Zim staff face chop

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Hundreds of employees could lose their jobs at Air Zimbabwe as the national airline is overstaffed, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Nicholas Goche told Parliament yesterday.

Goche said the airline had five aeroplanes against a staff complement of 1 360 making retrenchment at Air Zimbabwe inevitable.

“There are 1 360 workers and only five planes working and if you look at the ratio, it does not make sense that five planes can take care of 1 360 people,” Goche said.

“On how many planes are required, it depends on the routes, and unfortunately I cannot say exactly when Air Zimbabwe is going to start flying except that we want to start with domestic flights, followed by regional flights, then international flights.”

Goche told joint Parliamentary portfolio committees of State Enterprises and Parastatals and Transport and Infrastructural Development that it was imperative for government to honour its obligations to pay amounts owed to employees at the struggling airline.

He said Cabinet had agreed that a committee of technical staff be set up to map a business plan for investors.

“We must have a person to assess the assets of Air Zimbabwe, the routes, aircraft, human resources and we must also ensure the airline is debt-free and have a bankable, viable business plan,” he said.

Goche also told the committee he had licenced private airline players but they had not performed to expectations.

“I do not know how many licences I have signed for people who do not operate and I have never denied any single licence except the Harare to Johannesburg route because it is oversubscribed. All these private players have never flown except Fly Kumba.

“This airline flew for only three months and charged small amounts as if they were charging bus fare and now they are not operational. I am licensing left, right and centre, but they are not performing,” he said.