Confirmed reports that Zimbabwe Airways has been merged with the troubled Air Zimbabwe, transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza said on Monday.
Simba Chikore, a son-in-law to former president Robert Mugabe, took the lead last year in the establishment – using State funds – of Zimbabwe Airways in a dirty deal with left many believing the former first family owned the airline.
Addressing reporters in the capital Monday, minister Matiza confirmed at the two airlines had been merged, adding that Zimbabwe Airways aircraft would service regional and international routes.
“I would like to inform the nation that Zimbabwe Airways is a government entity,” the minister said.
“It is important to know that Air Zimbabwe does not have the adequate aircraft mix, an issue which has forced the airline to operate at a deficit.
“With the new aircraft in place government intends to merge Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways to complement one another on local and international routes.”
Asked on why the government had set up Zimbabwe Airways in the first place, considering the administration’s failure to capitalise Air Zimbabwe, Matiza said there was nothing wrong with having a second national airline.
“There is nothing wrong with having two national airlines; it (Zimbabwe Airways) was set-up for strategic business, but our main purpose right now is to have Air Zimbabwe in the sky,” he said.
Air Zimbabwe is currently reeling under a legacy debt amounting to $341 million.
Meanwhile, Matiza revealed that government is working on setting up provincial airports and aerodromes across the country to stimulate the growth of the tourism and related sectors.
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