HARARE - Government has approved plans for national carrier Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) to engage a strategic partner as part of its turnaround strategy.
Shingai Dhliwayo, AirZim’s public relations manager yesterday confirmed the development but referred all questions to the Transport ministry.
“Government as our sole shareholder is dealing with that matter,” she said.
Efforts to get more details from the Transport ministry were futile by the time of going to print.
However, Obert Mpofu, the Transport minister on Monday revealed that Cabinet had given the green light for AirZim to secure a partner.
“Following that directive we have and are still receiving some positive responses from potential partners. Although government will continue rendering its support, the airline is at the same time expected to begin working towards self-sustenance through strategic alliances and maximum utilisation of its equipment,” Mpofu said.
This comes as AirZim resumed direct flights between Harare and Lusaka after a three-year hiatus as the national airline continues to increase its route network.
Mpofu told delegates boarding the flight to Lusaka that the latest development would greatly improve Airzim’s route networks as the national airline has been facing several operational challenges, among them a limited route network.
“Certainly this move is a real game changer for the national airline and the travelling public. With schedule integrity this is a potentially lucrative route,” he said.
The national flag carrier will be using the MA60 turboprop aircraft to carry passengers to Zambia on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Sources at Airzim say the development, which is set to increase connectivity — a key factor in regional integration and national economic development — was motivated by the strong ties that exist between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“This route will ease travel arrangements and business transactions between Lusaka and Harare thus stimulating economic activity and growth,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu noted that the resumption of the Harare-Lusaka route is a precursor for more regional and international routes which will be opening soon.
He also revealed that as part of efforts by the national carrier to ease transactions when buying its services, AirZim had introduced EcoCash and IBE payment platforms for convenience.
“Passengers are now able to use this EcoCash platform to buy tickets on Airzim and that process is quite simple and convenient to the customers,” he said.