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Zimbabwe Cabinet Resolves to Revive Debt-Ridden National Airline

  • Gibbs Dube

Transport Minister Nicholas Goche told a joint Transport and State Enterprises parliamentary management portfolio committee meeting that cabinet unanimously agreed that it was important for the country to maintain its own national airline

Zimbabwean Transport Minister Nicholas Goche says cabinet has resolved to resuscitate Air Zimbabwe after creating a new company to run the national airline which early this year suspended domestic, regional and international flights fearing creditors.

Goche told a joint Transport and State Enterprises parliamentary management portfolio committee meeting that cabinet had unanimously agreed that it was important for the country to maintain its own national airline.

He told the committee that Zimbabwe should, however, not expect huge profits from operations of the airline now known as Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited.

Goche said the government will take over the $150 million Air Zimbabwe Holdings debt, allowing the new company to operate free from the problems bedevilling the disbanded company.

He said in an effort to boost its operations, Air Zimbabwe had started leasing an Airbus A230 before its operations were grounded by mounting debts. He did not disclose the origins of the airbus.

Airline management declined Monday to reveal the source of funding and monthly payments for the plane.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it strongly supports the revival of Air Zimbabwe but only if this will be done with the help of private companies.

Deputy party spokeswoman Thabitha Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 the national airline has over the years been run down by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and therefore its resuscitation hinges on lack of state interference.

Khumalo dismissed Transport Minister Goche’s remarks that the government always pays bills for the President Mugabe's overseas trips.

She said ZANU-PF has been operating the airline like a small business without any checks and balances.

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