AIR Zimbabwe chief executive Tendai Mahachi has denied the national airline ever accessed $1,1 trillion from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under the productive sector facility (PSF) for its tu
The airline was reportedly the largest beneficiary of the PSF from the central bank, having taken the largest chunk of funds on offer when the fund was set up by the RBZ. The PSF provided money at concessionary rates to distressed companies.
Mahachi disclosed in an interview with businessdigest that the ailing national carrier had been operating from internally-generated revenues since he took over the reins from Captain Oscar Madombwe earlier this year.
“I have heard of us receiving $1,1 trillion from the Reserve Bank. In fact, we have not accessed those funds to-date as far as I am aware,” said Mahachi.
He said Air Zimbabwe was implementing its turnaround strategy without support from the fund.
Mahachi said the company was taking on board a technical partner to improve its operations as part of its turnaround strategy.
It is understood the airline plans to take on South African Airways (SAA) as its technical partner.
“We cannot implement a turnaround strategy through the press and definitely I am not in a position to tell you who we are talking to. But we have identified one with whom we are finalising talks,” Mahachi said.
He also denied the airline had leased one of its two long haul airplanes to the Ugandan national airline.
“I wonder where people get this information about us having leased a plane to a Ugandan airline. We have not leased any plane. All our planes are here and we are making full use of them,” said Mahachi.
On concerns raised over the recently-introduced routes by the national airline, Mahachi said the company had carried out market research on potential markets that had proved viable.
“We carried out a market potential for these markets and it proved viable for the airline. It is not a decision that we just took. We actually did some work on them. It should be realised such markets take time to grow and in the long-term will prove very viable,” said Mahachi.
Air Zimbabwe has been criticised for the airline’s disastrous maiden flight to Dubai where it failed to garner support leading to the flight leaving with 49 passengers and returning with one on the 205-carrier Boeing 767.
The deteriorating situation at the airline has forced government to intervene to save its operations. Vice-president Joice Mujuru recently summoned the airline’s executives to her office in an effort to ascertain the cause of the current problems and berated them for poor performance.