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Air Zimbabwe upbeat ahead of IATA audit results

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2013 at 22:16hrs | 3422 Views
RESULTS of the safety standards audit which the International Air Transport Association is carrying out on Air Zimbabwe will be out by the end of February.

Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer Mr Innocent Mavhunga said the audit was progressing well.

"The audit, which is still in progress, is set to be completed by the end of February," he said.

Mr Mavhunga, however, refused to shed more light on the audit processes.

"We are not allowed to rush and conclude until the programme is finished. IATA does not permit us to talk to the media regarding the audit until the process is complete," he said.

Last year IATA suspended Air Zimbabwe after the airline failed to comply with global safety standards. IATA later sent auditors to review progress that the airline had made to reach standards that the international body set to be readmitted into the organisation.

IATA is a global aviation body that works with airlines and the air transport industry to promote safe, reliable, secure and economical travel.

Air Zimbabwe's problems with IATA started in June when the airline was given 90 days to renew its Operational Safety Audit or lose its membership.

A statement from IATA at the time said that compliance with the biennial safety audit was mandatory if Air Zimbabwe wanted to retain its membership.

Last week, Air Zimbabwe said that it has leased two aircraft which it will deploy on regional routes in March this year as part of its revival plans.

The national carrier resumed limited flights late last year after being grounded for a long period due to financial and other problems.

Air Zimbabwe owes suppliers and other creditors more than US$100 million, which has prompted some of them to threaten to seize and auction its planes.

Mr Mavhunga said two A320 aircraft which the airline has leased will be deployed in March to expand operations.

"These are medium-range aircraft, and will be deployed on regional routes, most probably the Harare-Johannesburg route," he said.

"This is part of our rebuilding plans, and we see huge potential in the future," he said.

He said international flights to destinations such as London will remain grounded for now, in part because of lack of aircraft. The limited flights currently offered by the airline are on domestic and some regional routes such as Harare-Johannesburg.

Mr Mavhunga said Air Zimbabwe was gearing itself for the country's biggest tourism event - the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly - to be held in August in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

"We are confident we won't be found wanting," he said.


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