The Office of the President has fired Air Zimbabwe administrator Reggie Saruchera who is being accused of failing to transform the fortunes of the national carrier.
An anonymous source told NewZimbabwe that Saruchera was appointed administrator in October 2018 with specific instructions to turn around the fortunes of the parastatal and clearing its US$349 million local debt which has ballooned ever since. Added the source:
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_The 30 June deadline was given by President’s Office after realising that they were taking too long to finalise the process._
_The OPC basically accused Saruchera and his team of failing to turn AirZim’s fortunes around and had become part of the problem at the airline. They were accused of decimating systems to the extent that it will be a huge problem for the incoming board and management._
_Saruchera suggested that management may have to report to the Ministry of Transport for now until a board has been appointed. There are allegations that the administrator was paid a lot of money for the job but with really nothing to show for it._
Air Zimbabwe has two operational planes, a situation that has made it impossible for the airline to meet its financial obligations.
The source added that the two planes that were acquired from Malaysian Airways are lying idle because Air Zimbabwe has no capacity to operate them since they are costly.
They also cannot be used on long haul routes they were specifically acquired for because of the Covid-19 pandemic-induced travel restrictions.
Due to the obtaining financial situation, Air Zimbabwe engaged the government in 2019 to conclude a debt assumption process with reports then suggesting the airline owed US$30 million to foreign creditors while nine Government-related firms were owed $292 million.
The government is yet to assume the debt.