Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
AIR Zimbabwe administrator Reggie Saruchera is locked in talks with Government to conclude a debt assumption process of the national flag carrier’s debt.
Hiving off Air Zimbabwe’s humongous debt is seen as critical in efforts to turnaround the company as it would become attractive to potential strategic partners.
Of the debt, US$30 million is owed to foreign creditors while nine Government-related firms are owed $292 million.
Said Mr Saruchera in a notice to all creditors last week: “The debt assumption is a prerequisite to the turnaround of the airline and the coming on board of a strategic partner.
“Engagements are currently underway with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to finalise on the debt assumption process.”
Engagements with potential strategic partners and investors are currently underway to enhance future sustainability and competitiveness of the airline.
Mr Saruchera said timelines for the coming on board of the strategic partner have now been altered to allow for the debt assumption process to be concluded.
Meanwhile, the revival of the national airline is gathering steam following the delivery of an Embraer ERJ 145LR on Tuesday last week.
Two medium range aircraft are expected to be acquired during the course of the year.
Mr Saruchera said the planes would allow Air Zimbabwe to “develop a robust domestic and regional route network”.
One of the medium range aircraft would be dedicated for charter services and relief flights.
At the same time, Air Zimbabwe anticipates the delivery of two Boeing 777s in the next six to eight weeks.
The long-haul aircraft acquired from Malaysia, have been earmarked for intercontinental routes since they need anything upwards of six hours in the skies for them to generate profit for the beleaguered airline.
Mr Saruchera wants to raise some capital for the acquisition of additional aircraft and working capital from the disposal of redundant aircraft equipment and spares.
They are currently waiting for approval from the Ministry of Finance for the disposal of the equipment and obsolete spares.
Since Mr Saruchera was appointed Air Zimbabwe administrator on October 4 last year, he has held a creditors’ meeting where all claims were placed on record and are in the process of verification.
All creditors with claims that required additional information have been notified and engagements are underway.
Air Zimbabwe was placed under reconstruction in terms of Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act (Chapter 24:27).