Some senior government officials have been alleged to be deliberately sabotaging struggling national airline, Air Zimbabwe in order to make way for Zimbabwe Airways. Zimbabwe Airways is a private airline which bought 6 planes using public funds from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). The airline is reported to have been setup up last year by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Jorum Gumbo and former Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer and former president Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore.
Sources who spoke to the weekly publication, the Zimbabwean Independent, said,
The initial plan was simple; use money from RBZ to buy planes; register them under Zim Airways; get an air operator licence, then compete with AirZim, but because AirZim has one plane and they have six, AirZim would definitely lose out and eventually collapse.
The plan has changed a bit and is now centred on ensuring that a partnership between AirZim and Zim Airways is reached along the way. Zim Airways will then bring in their planes and a bit of capital, thereby assuming control of the company, which will result in board and managerial changes.
Minister Gumbo said that he will ensure that Air Zimbabwe continues operating. Said Gumbo,
I will not allow Air Zimbabwe to collapse. I approached 10 airlines to partner us, but only had some discussions with Ethiopian Airlines and Air Malaysia.
I have other plans which came after the new dispensation, which is making my life easier. I have some people contacting us to assist, partner or purchase some planes. AirZim as a business should be viable, but for that to happen, staff culture and attitude should change. That is what will assist us.
More: The Zimbabwe Independent