AIR Zimbabwe has leased an Airbus A320 for its regional routes, but the airline's planes remain grounded while the government scrambles to find a partner, a minister confirmed.
Transport Minister Nicholas Goche said the aircraft would be part of the airline’s regional fleet.
“Yes I can confirm that it is not a rumour that we have ‘acquired’ an A320 airbus but it is only for the purpose of leasing. It has been here for a while and it will be part of Air Zimbabwe’s regional fleet,” Goche said.
“Air Zimbabwe’s old planes may not be part of the regional and international fleet as they will service local routes.”
However, the airline remains grounded after suspending operations due to problems with creditors and strikes over pay by pilots and other key staff.
Goche said flights would only resume once the airline’s problems have been resolved.
“We do not want a situation where Air Zimbabwe can resume operations and suddenly suspend them,” he said.
‘‘We want Air Zimbabwe to restore its customers’ confidence,” he said.
The company pulled out of international and regional flights after restive creditors seized aircraft in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Air Zimbabwe is believed to owe various local and international creditors more than US$140 million.
The government has since pledged to take over the debt to help the airline return to viability.
However, the airline’s problems appeared to be mounting at a time competition is also increasing with a number of regional and international carriers returning to Harare.
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has already introduced started flying into Harare from London, a key route for Air Zimbabwe.
Goche also confirmed that Air Namibia and Precision Air of Tanzania would also start flying into Harare.
“Air Namibia will resume its flights to Harare in April. We still have offers from other airlines that want to come to Zimbabwe,” he said.