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Experts Dismiss Minister's Estimate of Air Zimbabwe Turnaround Cost

  • Gibbs Dube

Experts said Air Zimbabwe, which is posting monthly operating losses estimated at US$2 million, could not be saved with an infusion of US$20 million as it has some US$100 million in debts

Commercial aviation experts and other observers have dismissed as nonsensical remarks by Zimbabwean Transport Minister Nicholas Goche saying Air Zimbabwe needs US$20 million to cover short-term debts and put the state carrier back on its feet.

They again recommended privatization of the carrier - if a strategic investor can be found given ongoing black empowerment moves requiring a 51 percent black Zimbabwean stake in large enterprises - to reduce the drain on the public purse.

Economists and aviation experts said Air Zimbabwe, which is posting monthly operating losses estimated at US$2 million, could not be saved with an infusion of US$20 million as it has some US$100 million in debts going back to 2009.

In any event, they added, the government cannot spare US$20 million to rescue Air Zimbabwe as it is on a shoestring budget and already sliding into deficit.

Aviation expert Guy Leitch of South Africa’s Fly Magazine said Goche’s proposals to the parliamentary transport committee do not make sense.

Economic commentator Walter Mbongolwane accused Goche of misleading the nation about the gravity of the operational and financial problems at Air Zimbabwe.

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