Air Zimbabwe yesterday grounded Mbuya Nehanda, a Boeing 737-200ER, for mandatory maintenance expected to last over a month.
The airline has largely been operating two serviceable aircraft and whenever there was a technical fault on one, delays and/or cancellations became inevitable. Air Zimbabwe now has two planes; the 767-200 christened “Chimanimani” and a leased one to service its routes. Another aircraft has since been leased to service some routes due to Mbuya Nehanda’s grounding. In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Air Zimbabwe corporate affairs manager, Mr Tafadzwa Mazonde said the B737 was undergoing major maintenance works. Said Mazonde:
Air Zimbabwe wishes to advise its valued passengers that our aircraft, B737 registration Z-WPA popularly known as ‘Mbuya Nehanda’ will be grounded for a mandatory maintenance check which is expected to be completed after 45 days with effect from midnight 30 December 2018, in line with aviation quality and safety standards.
Mbuya Nehanda services the Harare/Bulawayo/Victoria Falls/Harare as well as Harare/Dar es Salaam routes. This check will be undertaken to enhance the operational efficiency of this aircraft which has dutifully serviced the airline and its passengers reliably.
As Air Zimbabwe the safety of our operations is of paramount importance hence the adoption of this hard but necessary course. The maintenance of the aircraft is part of the broader scheme of reconstruction of the airline that is currently underway.
We are just hoping that the Reserve Bank will be supportive of the maintenance programme in terms of availing foreign currency to purchase the necessary spares to undertake the maintenance. It is a major check because we have to update softwares, stripping the whole aircraft and replacing a number of components. It is like we are rebuilding the whole aircraft to extend its life. In the absence of foreign currency it may take longer but if payments are made we hope to finish in 45 days