AirZim planes grounded in SA

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AIR Zimbabwe’s two A320 Airbuses have been grounded at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the last four months amid disclosures that the planes were unserviceable, NewsDay has learnt.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Grounding of the Airbuses adds to the woes of the national carrier that now has only two planes in the air servicing the Harare-
Johannesburg route and the domestic market. The two are a Boeing 737 and the leased Embraer jet.

The third functional plane is a Boeing 767 which is usually used when the 737 is down or when President Robert Mugabe is travelling outside the country.

Three MA60’s acquired from China a couple of years ago have also remained in the hangars as their potential to get back to the skies has been ruled out.

Yesterday, an insider told NewsDay that: “The Airbuses have been at OR Tambo for the last four months and are incurring storage charges which are rising by the day as they remain unfixed. They were taken to South Africa for C-Checks.”

C-Check refers to the comprehensive overhaul of aircraft after a certain amount of time or usage. The source added: “When one of the Airbuses was flying, the airline used to cannibalise the parked one for parts. One of the planes needs its landing gear replaced.” Contacted for comment last night, Airzim spokesperson Shingai Taruvinga confirmed the Airbuses were grounded in SA, but could not give more details.

A senior official at the airline also confirmed that the Airbuses had been grounded, but could not give further details. “It’s true that they (Airbuses) are in South Africa since we don’t have the capacity to service them here. One of the planes has a landing gear problem and the lessor is looking at replacing it soonest,” the official said.

The senior official also confirmed that the airline was conducting C-Checks on two Boeings locally and these will be completed soon.
“We need about $1,5 million to complete the C-Checks on the Boeing 767 and Boeing 737 at our workshops and I suppose that should be done within the next three weeks,” the official added.

NewsDay also established that the national airline was paying over $4 million a year in insurance to its new brokers – Champions Insurance. According to documents, the Airzim pays Euro455 447 and $484 509 per quarter as insurance premiums. But, the senior official, while confirming that Champions Insurance were the new local brokers, queried the new figures.

“Considering where we are coming from, we are now paying $2 million annually instead of the $4,8 million that we used to pay and this makes a saving of $2,8 million,” the official said.

The official, however, did not provide documents to prove the airline’s claims that they were paying less currently. Airzim has been struggling to finance its operations and has consistently been on the market seeking fresh operating capital and funds to retire its huge pile of debts standing at over $150 million.

30 COMMENTS

  1. There is a huge scam in the aquisition of those Airbus planes, and their age. The Civil Aviation Authority Of Zimbabwe issued a bulletin to the industry banning the registration of aircraft over 20 years old from being registered for commercial use in Zimbabwe in July 2008. Those airbusses are as old as the 737s which Air Zimbabwe is operating. The 737s may be said to have been already registered and in service. The bulletin was issued in 2008, and it was used to block some intending operators using similar aircraft. How then was Air Zimbabwe allowed to register those old Airbuses over 20 years old when others were denied?

    In the first place, were the Airbuses bought or leased? If they were bought, how much was paid for each aircraft? If they are being leased, what is the monthly bill per aircraft? Or is it one of those schemes to fleece the poor airline under the guise of sunctions busting, which we all know is absolute crap!!!!

    Can some investigative jurnalists delve deep into this and expose these criminals for what they are.

    • Its probably the usual story, mate. I bet, someone at AirZim or in the Ministry is pocketing a big wad of USDs for the junk we bought or are leasing. Mu Zimbabwe maipa. Where is the minister of transport, and for how long should Air Zimabwe be the laughing stock of Africa’s skies?

    • Editor show my comment for once.. I think it is unreasonable for CAAZ to ban registration of aircraft older than 20 years.. a 20 year old aircraft would have been manufactured 1994 …Thats not bad at all for an aircraft that has been receiving the necessary maintenance. Handiti mati pane vakarambidzwa? ndiwo huwori iwowo. The ban was effected for them specifically. An aircraft can fly with a 20 year old frame but with the latest technologies on board..hazvisi zvitsva izvo.

  2. “the national airline was paying over $4 million a year in insurance to its new brokers”
    For paying such a huge sum, surely even the maintenance of these jalopies has to be included! That insurance cannot just be “accident cover”!
    Add to that the $10m insurance scam recently uncovered by forensic auditors and you realise that under Zanu PF, the airline and the country are both doomed.

  3. please establish who the majority shareholder of champion insurance is and you will discover the extent of the looting at air zimbabwe.

  4. hahahha. Muchiti pane pazvange zvichadiiko? Trying to resuscitate a dead donkey. Our country is fast becoming a failed state. If ZANU PF wins in 2018 and the political elite remains unchanged, that will be the end of Zimbabwe. CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE AND IS BEING PROTECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT-HARARE CITY COUNCIL SCANDAL.

  5. Please be a professional journalist and do some research, the last time I checked air zim had two Boeing 767-200ER’s,three Boeing 737-200’s. Your report seems says only one of each is serviceable what happened to the rest. Do a background report and then bring us to the present situation. As for the insurance there is another scam in the works because I can tell you that there is no insurer in Zimbabwe with the capacity to insure a commercial airliner. The cheapest route for Air Zim is to get a local insurer to front their aviation business and place it with a foreign insurer or reinsurer (Lloyds of London etc). They should deal directly with Zimre who will gladly make the arrangements at a considerable saving.

  6. this is what you get when you buy second hand planes that were relected by ALITALIA ,as is the usual case the middlemen have made off with huge amouts of cash and here we are on familiar ground stuck in a rut ,now a place we call home.

  7. i beta you air zim is still the only airline flying a b737 200 i will rather ride a bus than getting onboard of that old scrap.machinda munoziva chinoitika ukaramba uchimanikidza chinhu like air zim is still doing with its old plane

  8. I heard pioneer wanted to buy a plane but vakanyimwa licence nehama idzi so wat good would you possibly expect

  9. Manje sooo !! An aviation expert commented that these planes were not suitable for Air Zw coz of their age and being 4 engines or 2 engine planes …whoever commented is an expert as true to his word, dzagara pasi ndege dziya but pane dinga rakatodya mari. Ko Minister of Transport anoti kudii nazvo ?

    And its said Bob has an interest in the salary scam …what about his abuse of Air Zimbabwe leading to its demise ? Mbada Diamonds, ZESA, ZIMRA, ZRP, ZNA, AFZ, NRZ. Anything Zanu PF touches turns to RUST.

    Cry the beloved country .

  10. All these pathetic stories in the press everyday !just wher did we get it wrong as a nation ?with all our much flaunted education as Zimbabwns we have all but failed to take our country into the 21st century !May God help us !

  11. The 767 Mugabe uses is ultra reliable despite its age. It is one of the best looked after jetliners in the world, believe it or not. Mugabe is very paranoid when it comes to his safety and will NOT use anything dodgy, let alone a vehicle that travels 10 000 metres or more above the ground.

  12. Obabamkhulu bathi inotho yobusela kayiyakhi muzi. No matter what in Zimbabwe Zanu PF will never make anything work as long Mugabe is alive

  13. Eeeeh Mr Editor, Champions is not an insurance broker boss. It is an underwriting insurance firm. Tsvagai umbowo musati mabudisa zvisizvo mumapepanhau boss. Ndatenda hangu

Comments are closed.