AirZim terminates lease

Roadwin Chirara

NATIONAL carrier Air Zimbabwe has terminated its US$2 million lease agreement with PB Air of Thailand after the company reintroduced its long haul Boeing 767-200 which had gone for service. <
/STRONG>


Air Zimbabwe had leased a 245-seater Boeing 767-300 from the company on a three-month lease at a fee of US$3 200 per flight hour – an amount which was unsustainable for the ailing airline.


Air Zimbabwe entered into the contract in August covering the three months to November.


Air Zimbabwe spokesman, David Mwenga, confirmed the termination of the lease agreement with the Asian company.


“We have terminated the contract,” said Mwenga.


“We had only used the plane for a month or so and found no reason to retain it after our plane, which had undergone a service check, had been reintroduced into service.”


Although Air Zimbabwe, which falls under Christopher Mushohwe’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, never made public details of the lease, it is understood the airline had agreed to use the Thai company’s plane for the whole period of the lease agreement.


“I am not sure about the details of the lease as during the period that you are asking about I was away. So I will not be in a position to say much on that,” said Mwenga.


Recently, the airline was forced to fly three passengers on the 245-seater plane on its Bangkok-Dubai route.


The company was also forced on the same day to cancel its scheduled stopovers in Beijing after notification that there were no passengers booked in the Chinese capital.


Air Zimbabwe was also this week named as one of the many parastatals that have failed to remit export proceeds by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.


It has failed to remit US$388 267 in foreign currency generated from its operations. Sources say the central bank was unable to make headway in its efforts to recover the funds after holding several meetings with the airline’s top management.