Air Zimbabwe, Mugabe, and Malaysia.


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With only 6 fleet planes covering 2 international routes of Johannesburg and Dar Es Salaam. 3 domestic routes of Kariba, Bulawayo and the touristic destination of Victoria fall, Air Zimbabwe still struggling to make end profits on the skies. Once ceased operation in late 2012 due to financial constraint and unpaid debt to creditors. The Zimbabwe inflation crisis on 2006 worsening the cash strapped airline situation as they increased up price tickets to 500%, partly due to the inflation in the country rising to over 1,000%. The lack of foreign currency reserve in the Zimbabwe Central Bank had heavily affected the airlines need to buy plane fuel, importing spare part maintenance for the plane and paying for the catering service.

Air Zimbabwe once flying as far as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 2009. As the Sino-Africa cordial relationship strengthening. On 2004 Harare-Beijing route was launched but 2011/2012 financial disruption in the airlines had caused on the airlines was grounded completely under judicial court due to unpaid debt to the creditors and unpaid salaries and allowances of the staff. The government revamped the airlines management and trying to rebrand the airlines as Air Zimbabwe Private Limited with absorbing $150 million debt in the newly formed company account. Early May 2012 the airline resumed flying on a continuous basis using a single aircraft and serving only three domestic destinations —Bulawayo, Harare and the magnificent Victoria Falls.

When talking about Air Zimbabwe it’s really hard to point out the relation between the airline and the 93 years old President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe independent news portal such as Bulawayo24 and DailyNews.com always accused Mugabe family and his member of Zanu APF party misuse their power and flying the airline using state coffers fund without any transparency accounting cost. Mugabe overseas trips in 2017 will have eaten up about US$40 million by end of December, which includes daily per diems for scores of senior civil servants and cabinet ministers according to the Zimbabwe Mail News Portal. The appointment of Simba Chikore as the Chief Operating Officer of Air Zimbabwe outraged and caused conflict of interest in the management and the Zimbabwe people.

In July 2017 Simba Chikore went to Malaysia with the Transport Minister Joram Gumbo to negotiate and seal a deal to lease 4 aircraft and study the Malaysia Airlines restructuring plan after the devastating tragedy of missing plan MH370 and the gunned down MH17. After laying off around 6000 workers and cutting unprofitable routes and focusing the China routes market, the restructuring plan showing positive result with slight profit at the airline year end auditing process. As the number of Malaysia Airlines routes decrease the company planning to lease six its Airbus A330-200s fleets as one of the restructuring exercise to ensure the airline profitability.

The Chikore trip to Malaysia come out to controversy when the deal trip is without the presence Chief Executive Officer at national airline boss Ripton Muzenda. Muzenda is reported to have been in the dark about the whole deal. Air Zimbabwe had experienced restructuring exercise as approximately 600 employees out of more than 1,000 had been laid off by late May 2013 as part of cost-cutting measures aimed at recapitalising the airline. Until now, The Air Zimbabwe future are still in dark as the cronyism and nepotism still lingering around the airline management.

 

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