AirZim midnight flight irks passengers


AIR ZIMBABWE’S passengers suffered yet another lengthy delay when those travelling from Harare to Bulawayo arrived in the city at around 1am on Saturday after the flagship carrier again failed to provide a plane for the journey.


The national airline had on Friday morning left passengers stranded for more than five hours at the Harare International Airport after failing to provide a jet until it chartered an InterAir plane from South Africa to fly passengers to Bulawayo.

Mfariseni Muleya, who was on board the chartered midnight flight from Harare said they had been scheduled to fly from Harare to Bulawayo at 6pm, but the national airline failed to provide a plane until after midnight.

“They had to charter an InterAir plane at around midnight and we arrived in Bulawayo at about 1am,” he said.

“All along, the AirZim staff were not telling us the truth and it was really inconveniencing. They should have told us that they didn’t have a plane instead of lying to us,”. The latest incident came a week after the airline had a mid-air scare when the landing gear of its Boeing 737 developed a mechanical fault.

The plane was forced to make a mid-air U-turn to the Harare International Airport a few minutes after take-off, leaving Bulawayo passengers stranded.

Meanwhile, the AirZim board has been urged to speed up the audit process after Parliament last week expressed concern that the institution was last audited in 2010.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts chairperson Paurina Mpariwa raised the issue in the National Assembly saying it was imperative for the Transport and Infrastructural Development ministry to ensure the institution had up to date audit reports as required by the Public Finance Management Act.

Transport deputy minister Petronella Kagonye told the House that her ministry was aware of the issue and had instructed the board to expedite the process.

“The ministry is very concerned that Air Zimbabwe is behind with its audited accounts and has formally instructed the board to speed up the audit process,” she said.

“In this regard, the AirZim board, through the Auditor-General, has since floated a tender for preparation of external audits for AirZimbabwe Holdings and its subsidiaries.” Kagonye said the audit reports to be produced would cover the three-year period ending last year.

“By the end of 2014 the airline will be compliant as required by the Public Finance Management Act of 2009,” she said.

“The airline faced viability problems and other challenges that severely affected operations between December 2011 and November 2012.

“These created serious backlogs that are now being cleared by a fully-fledged finance division.”