Airzim sus­pends flights

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Bu­l­awayo Bureau

AIR Zim­babwe (Airzim) has suspended flights up to mid-month be­cause its only func­tional plane is un­der­go­ing main­te­nance.

The air­line which has largely been op­er­at­ing only two ser­vice­able air­craft was left with one plane fol­low­ing the ground­ing of its pop­u­lar plane a Boe­ing 737-200 ER called Mbuya Ne­handa last month due to manda­tory main­te­nance.

The re­main­ing air­craft, the 767200ER, also known as Chi­man­i­mani is un­der­go­ing ser­vic­ing.

In a state­ment, Airzim said it had made other travel ar­range­ments for cus­tomers who had booked flights in ad­vance but is not tak­ing any book­ings up to Jan­uary 15.

“Air Zim­babwe wishes to ad­vise its val­ued cus­tomers of a sched­ule dis­rup­tion due to mi­nor com­po­nent up­grade on the B767-200 ER from 11 to 15 Jan­uary 2019. We wish to as­sure all val­ued cus­tomers who are hold­ing con­firmed and tick­eted book­ings within the men­tioned dates that al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments have been made in order to en­sure min­i­mum dis­rup­tions to their travel plans,” reads the state­ment.

The air­line said the af­fected pas­sen­gers will be con­tacted via e-mail, tele­phone or SMS with in­for­ma­tion on al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments for their travel.

“Nor­mal sched­ule is ex­pected to re­sume on Jan­uary 15, 2019 and we will avail rel­e­vant up­dates via our web­site and of­fi­cial so­cial me­dia plat­forms,” said Air Zim­babwe.

In an in­ter­view yesterday, Air Zim­babwe cor­po­rate af­fairs man­ager, Mr Tafadzwa Ma­zonde said they had made al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments with other air­lines.

“We have strate­gic re­la­tion­ships with other air­lines to cater for such cir­cum­stances,” said Mr Ma­zonde.

Asked about the leased air­craft that was meant to re­place Mbuya Ne­handa, Mr Ma­zonde said they had since ter­mi­nated the lease agree­ment as the cost of leas­ing proved to be un­sus­tain­ably high.

Airzim grounded Mbuya Ne­handa, and it is ex­pected to be grounded till De­cem­ber 30. The air­line said the main­te­nance check for Mbuya Ne­handa was in line with avi­a­tion qual­ity and safety stan­dards.

“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,” it said in a state­ment issued last month.

Mbuya Ne­handa ser­viced the Harare /Bu­l­awayo /Vic­to­ria Falls / Harare as well as Harare /Dar es Salaam routes.

Sources at the air­line said the plane could be re­tired as it has served for 33 years.

“This plane was ac­quired in 1986 and it likely not go­ing to come back into ser­vice. It is very old. It is likely go­ing to be re­placed,” said the source.

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