AIR Zimbabwe (AirZim) is using sub-standard business and aviation software instead of recommended enterprise tools owing to the airline’s failure to pay service providers, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
The troubled flag carrier is currently banking on the government to inherit its huge US$381 million debt, US$30 million of which is owed to foreign creditors while US$292 million is government-to-government debt.
The Independent has established that the antiquated software has been in use for more than 20 years at a time when technological advancement in the aviation industry has become the norm.
The airline is currently using SAP ERP system (Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing and Enterprise Resource Planning) which is an enterprise resource planning software initially developed in 1992 that incorporates the key business functions of an organisation. However, the airline needs US$1 million to upgrade to S4 HANA which is an upgrade to SAP ERP.
SAP ERP is also causing problems for AirZim as the outdated version cannot be fully utilised and does not have trained users and information technology personnel to operate it. In some cases, especially on procurement, the SAP ERP also requires manual processing.
AirZim assistant administrator Tonderai Mukubvu confirmed that the airline was using SAP, but tried to downplay the situation, saying the primitive software was the airline’s preferred choice.
“Do you know what Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) is using? They use the SAP system. People have preferences and for us we prefer the SAP system because it is used by most nations in Africa,” Mukubvu said.
AirZim also uses Mercator For Revenue Accounting, KIU Administration/Reservation/IBE for booking, reservations, check-in, revenue accounting and internet booking engine. The service providers are owed a combined US$340 000.
Some of the software abandoned by AirZim include air transport technology provider SITA, which has the largest neutral multi-host airline reservations system, with over 100 airlines currently managing inventory. The reason for the termination was due to non-payment of a debt of US$1,3 million.
Despite government having invited bids from investors to take over the embattled entity 11 months ago, there have been no takers.