Air Zimbabwe like many other parastatals has been in a downward spiral for the last few years. It has been plagued with all sorts of issues with the majority being of a financial nature. Its pilots are striking at the moment over unpaid wages and this is causing a lot of turmoil. In response to the strike action, the airline fired its pilots after they refused to return to work by a given date.
By doing a bit of analysis it seems as if a major problem is that the airline is a government entity. Because of being a parastatal it succumbs to a lot of political interference. That being said, some of the decisions being made may not be in the best interests of the business as a whole. Without naming names, some decisions seems to be made to suite the personal interests of a select few.
Air Zimbabwe is managed by individuals who don’t seem to have what it takes to review the airline and turn it into a profitable business. The reasons for that may be that they were put in those positions not because they were the right people for the job but because of their affiliations. Another thing that they may be more concerned about is filling their pockets with as much money as they can before they move on. Some of the statements that their executives make just don’t make sense. In the last few hours news has come out that Air Zimbabwe has reportedly purchased 2 Airbus A340 aircraft for $400 million. This is what the chairman Jonathan Kadzura had to say about the supposed purchase, “I have also heard about it (new planes), but to be frank, I am not aware of it.” This and other confused statements leave you in a position where you can’t trust of have much faith in its management.
One of the best things that could be done for the airline would be to privatise it. Making such a move could bring in much needed investment which would not only carry the airline forward but also help it get out of debt. Such a move could also bring about a complete change of management and much needed corporate restructuring.
The major stumbling block in a move towards privatisation seems to be the government itself who just don’t want to let go of it and other failing parastatals. The reasons for this could range from wanting to keep a grip on anything and everything to greed to monopolisation and the list goes on. If they haven’t already done so they need to realise that there are some things that they are not good at and continue to fail it and in the interest of economic recovery should let go of.
If the downward spiral is not brought under control soon Air Zimbabwe is going to crash and burn and leave Zimbabwe with no national airline.