AirZim has no plans to retrench soon: Bvute

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RESURGENT national airline Air Zimbabwe has announced that it has no capacity to immediately embark on a retrenchment exercise to improve the company’s efficiency, a senior official at the flag carrier has said.

Report by Victoria Mtomba

Addressing a Press briefing last Friday, Air Zimbabwe chairman Ozias Bvute said the airline, which recently resumed its traditionally viable Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and Harare-Johannesburg routes, had taken a position to send its workers on forced leave until the company’s performance improves.

“We are not in a position to conduct retrenchment. We have put people on temporary leave. We are currently travelling to South Africa and the domestic routes so it would not make business sense to have a full staff complement to service these few routes. We have asked our staff to go on leave,” he said.

Bvute said the recent introduction of the two Airbuses currently being leased by the airline had reduced operational costs by 45% for the company.

At its peak, Air Zimbabwe used to have 1 025 employees manning a route network servicing Harare-Johannesburg, Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Falls, Harare-Nairobi, Harare-Dar-es-Salaam, Harare-Lubumbashi, Harare-London and Harare-Kuala Lumpur-Beijing.

Last month the company, which has begun a restructuring, announced that it had sent over 600 workers on forced leave to rebuild the route network, offer professional competitive services on flights, increase financial return and build a strong passenger base for the benefit of all stakeholders.

“A skeletal staff complement of 307 shall be retained for operations while the rest of the staff shall be sent on vacation leave to facilitate streamlined operations and optimum use of personnel for the next six months, at which point the airline will review progress made,” the company spokesperson said last month.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has re-registered Air Zimbabwe following its suspension last year.

Air Zimbabwe was deregistered by the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry after the airline had temporarily discontinued operations and failed to conduct audits which must be carried out every two years.

Speaking at the same Press conference, Transport and Communications secretary Munesu Munodawafa said the airline underwent an IOSA audit programme from December 17-21 last year, after which it had 12 months to close any gaps that had been identified.

“The audits are carried out every two years and your national airline is next for the audit. Meets part of the requirements to attract strategic partnership with world- class airlines, meets high safety standard, while realising notable cost savings and operational efficiency,” Munodawafa said.

The developments came at a time when the Air France KLM group announced that it had agreed a deal to service and maintain Air Zimbabwe’s new Airbus aircraft.

“After the resumption of its operations and the acquisition of two Airbus A320 planes, Air Zimbabwe has signed a contract with Air France KLM Group to ensure the aircraft have the necessary support,” the Air France Group said in a statement.

“The contract includes access to the Air France KLM pool, with repairs at the time of flight and the provision of a Main Base Kit, located initially in Johannesburg, then in Harare.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. Dont want to pour water on this but as presently constituted this bird will pretend to fly one moment and the next (mojority of times) sink into nowhere. Thus you have an airline that spends more time on the ground than in the air..why not call it a bus service rather than an airline.. This narcissistic pretension that it is not a dead airline is just feeding into some egos which ulitmately are costing everyone money that could be productively used elsewhere in the economy. The world is littered with failed businesses, why this pretence that this airline will rise from its ashes outside finding a cash rich partner is misplaced. No need to reinvent the wheel here..why not go the Kenyan Airways route where realistic synergies were established with a major partner.. What proof do you need that this airline is dead other than the fact that no serious partner will touch this airline as presently constituted. And what is the meaning of ‘sent workers on temporary leave?”..How temporary is this if they have gone for almost 4 years now without getting any meaningful part of their contracted salaries..is this some joke??? Sell one bird and pay them off and lets start seeing this genius you pretend to be and get this airline in the skies not do it on the back of salaries of employees and vital suppliers who suffered for it over the years..Somebody help here, is this even legal? And moral?? This so you can pretend to be experts at turnarounds when employees’ tears flow all over the runway. Small wander the airline has been on the skids for this long…PLEASE give it a rest.

  2. lets be positive guys ,the new chairman is working hard to see the airline back on track.lets support all his efforts.also im encouraging government officials to use our airline where its flying.it is us who build or destroy our nation.keep it up mr bvute you are doing a sterling job

  3. @falcon- i support u 100% the bird is no longer a bird…and serious partner will go for this airline. having a new chairman our what does not mean a thing airzim can not even carry the flag t will crash…the ego thing will hurt the main street nxaaa

  4. Pple should have professional pride. Taking a dud job just fo the cash is prostituting one’s self. Have decency to say no to some of these postings. Treatment of workers like slaves symptomatic of parastatals. Pay workers their dues, n close shop coz u r bankrupt. Otherwise like every other strategic industry where we lack knowhow, eg diamond mining, swallow ride n find partner as others have said.

    • @Air Zimbabwe Captain- if you knew anything about aviation, the airline would be in the sky not permanently on the ground.

  5. am an employee. surely we are being tortured. if this airline only belonged to an individual we would easily sue him. since 2008 upto now no regular payment of salaryz has been done. from june 2011 upto today no full salary. we are owed 28months of pay each worker. last week salaries were cut by 83% when they reduced fares. i now take home 190us from 1100us. thats hell on earth

  6. “Resurgent” izzit? Does that mean the scheduled flights actually operate? And what happened to AirDim’s 1 (or 1 1/2) 767s? Surely they must keep them around so Comrade Bob can fly to Malaysia in the style to which he is accustomed.

  7. Is this not the same Ozias Bvute who drove Zim Cricket to the ground? If its him what magic wand is he going to wave that will resurrect the dead airline?

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