DIVERSIFIED regional transporter, Pioneer Corporation Africa Ltd (PCA), has not yet been granted an operating licence for a planned airline operation in the country, the group’s chairman told businessdigest this week.
The ambitious proj
ect, expected to be called Pioneer Air, has been in the group’s plans for over two years.
PCA chairman, Patrick Chingoka, said the aviation project was in the pipeline and as soon as an operating licence was granted to the company by government, the group would immediately start the project.
Chingoka said PCA had gone into partnership with a foreign partner in the aviation business, which is going to capitalise the business.
“We are still in the process of acquiring an operations licence,” said Chingoka.
“PCA has gone into partnership with a foreign partner in the aviation business who will capitalise the project,” Chingoka said.
Chingoka, cognisant of the troubles likely to face such a venture on an uncertain economic environment, said the airline would be a long-term project.
“We intend making it a 30-year project as the economic environment is set to change and grow in the medium-term. We also intend to start with one or two jet-propelled aircraft and increase the fleet as time goes by. We would like to walk before running,” he said.
A new airline is likely to foster competition in the domestic airline industry. The first privately-owned airline firm collapsed due to financial problems a few years ago, while a number of other planned airline projects, including Mid-Air, failed to take off despite wide publicity.
Zimbabwe Express Airlines operated a DC-9-32 plying the Harare and Bulawayo route prior to its collapse.
The national airline, Air Zimbabwe, has experienced viability problems over the past six years, surviving on government subsidies due to a run of losses.
PCA provides regional transport solutions for sub-Saharan Africa.
The company’s existing network of transport depots covers all the major centres in Zimbabwe and extends regionally to Johannesburg in South Africa and Gaborone in Botswana.
PCA also offers logistic, freight and passenger transport services through its network of transport brands such as Pioneer Transport, which provides bulk freight transport, bulk liquids and specialised products; Pioneer Coaches which provides passenger services; Clan Transport which provides collection and distribution; Trek, which offers volumetric and household removals; Pioneer Corporation Africa, which provides contract hire and tailor-made solutions; Cross City, which provides national courier, and Sky Net, providing international courier.