FlyAfrica Zimbabwe is set to resume flights within the next fortnight after its new shareholders injected $6,6 million to resuscitate operations.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
The airline last flew 18 months ago when it was entangled in a bitter war with the then shareholders, prompting it to surrender its licence to the government at the time.
The airline’s executive chairperson, Cassidy Mugwagwa on Friday said the capital injection went towards retiring the debt which was left by the previous shareholder.
“We have rescued FlyAfrica from collapse. We have injected $6,6 million most of that has gone to retire debt, regulator and government,” he said.
The return of FlyAfrica will result in stiff competition with South African Airways, Fastjet, Ethiopian Airways, Rwanda Air and Kenyan Airways, among others.
Mugwagwa said they leased two planes which were expected in the country soon after having satisfied the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe requirements.
“Within the next fortnight we will start within the Zimbabwean triangle that is Harare to Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. FlyAfrica as a business did not fail, the shareholders did. Right now there are few shareholders. There is one if not two,” he said.
After shareholder squabbles in 2015 Chakanyuka Karase, who held the licence to operate the airline in Zimbabwe, approached the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and surrendered the licence.
The Karase family previously owned 51% of FlyAfrica Zimbabwe through Nu Aero (Pvt) Limited, while the other 49% was previously owned by Mauritius-based FlyAfrica limited.
Mugwagwa said after a month of plying the local route the airline would introduce the Harare to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Lusaka flights.
In 2018, Mugwagwa optimistically said, the airline will ply international routes such as London, Dubai and China, adding that the company envisioned procuring its own aeroplanes.
“We can’t be seriously considered an airline if we don’t have our own planes,” he said.