NATIONAL airline Air Zimbabwe is set to appoint a substantive managing director to head the parastatal by the end of the year, the board has said. If a substantive managing director is fo
und, this would be exactly six months after the former boss, Rambai Chingwena unceremoniously left the company.
Currently Captain Oscar Madombwe is heading Air Zimbabwe in an acting capacity.
Air Zimbabwe has been hunting for a managing director since the departure of Chingwena and at one stage went on to the market seeking someone to head the parastatal.
Chingwena, who has never come out in the open on why he left, faxed his resignation from Namibia.
In June the Air Zimbabwe board even flighted adverts looking for a possible replacement, but the group was not successful in its hunt.
Aviation officials this week said that at one stage the Air Zimbabwe board was courting senior officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) for a possible replacement to Chingwena.
“Some members of the board were approaching senior officials from Caaz but most of the people refused to accept the offers,” officials said.
“Up to now Air Zimbabwe does not have a substantive director. The problem is that the aviation industry is rather technical and government or the Air Zimbabwe board would have to plead with either previous directors to come back or Madombwe would continue acting probably up until a time he is appointed a substantive managing director.”
Air Zimbabwe board chairman Livingstone Gwata this week said that the process of finding a substantive head has already started.
“It’s a process that is still taking place. We do believe as a board that by the end of the year we would have found someone,” he said. “We are optimistic about that.”
Officials privy to operations at the national airline said that many prospective candidates were not keen to work at Air Zimbabwe because of interference from the government.
“Many people who are qualified to head Air Zimbabwe are not prepared to have their work interfered with on a daily basis,” the official said.
“One of the major problems at Air Zimbabwe is the red tape associated with the reporting structures.”
Gwata however dismissed the suggestions that they had been head hunting from Caaz saying “that is why we flighted an advert for a managing director. The process of going through all the applications has started and by end of next month we would have found somebody.”
Over the past six months, Air Zimbabwe has been scouting for a technical partner to ply the Harare-Beijing route.
However, on Sunday Air Zimbabwe will be making its maiden trip to Beijing.
The proposed China route is in line with the government’s look East policy.
Last year Zimbabwe was granted an approved tourist destination status by China, which the government feels can only be improved if there are regular flights to tap into the lucrative Far East countries.
A fortnight ago government signed an agreement with China National Aero Technology Import Export Corporation, a Chinese company, which would see Zimbabwe purchasing a plane from China.