Air Zimbabwe is in the process of clearing its legacy debt to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to rejoin the global aviation group.
Why AirZim lost IATA membership status
Air Zimbabwe was in 2016 deregistered from the global aviation safety organisation registry for failing to comply with regulations.
Funding to clear the outstanding debt that Air Zimbabwe owes the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been secured and the national airline is now focusing on rejoining the global enabler in the aviation industry.
Rejoining IATA will enable the national airline to forge global aviation alliances and contribute to the international aviation distribution system.
The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines. All IATA members are registered and must remain registered in order to retain IATA membership.
The development was confirmed by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona when he announced a substantive board for the country’s national airline.
“What we need to do is to clear our outstanding debt that is in our books and I am happy to say the funding has been secured,” he said.
A history of failing IATA audits
Air Zimbabwe has been IOSA certified since 2008. However, in 2012, Air Zimbabwe was also de-registered from the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry after the airline had temporarily discontinued operations and failed to conduct the audits which must be carried out every two years.
The airline was later readmitted to the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit in 2013 after complying with the aviation body’s minimum standards.
Air Zimbabwe had also technically failed IOSA’s test after temporarily halting operations due to an industrial strike that was taking place at the time.
A few months ago, the struggling airline was listed on the EU Commission air safety list of carriers banned or restricted from operating in the EU. The commission said the 117 airlines are banned for “not meeting international safety standards”.
Air Zimbabwe board’s daunting task
The board chairperson Silvanos Gwarinda gave an insight into the immediate task at hand to turnaround the fortunes of the country’s national flag carrier.
“Air Zimbabwe will have to aggressively pursue joint venture relationships with all key SADC airlines. This will promote trans border air travel by promoting by providing seamless flight connectivity via coordinated flight schedules,” said Gwarinda.
The new Air Zimbabwe board takes over from an interim board led by Andrew Bvumbe appointed in July last year.
The other board members are Ms Ruth Hungwe-Rukahwa, Mr Edmund Murambiwa Makona, Mr Lawrence Musendekwa, Mr Ticharwa Garabga and Ms Mucharemba Kahombe.