By Tichaona Sibanda
13 December 2012
Three months after Air Zimbabwe was suspended from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for failing to comply with global safety standards, the airline is optimistic that next week it will be ‘cleared for take-off.’
IATA has contracted an aviation audit company that will visit Harare to carry out checks on the national flag carrier’s preparedness to resume flying, following its suspension in September.
For the last two years the national airline has been plagued by woes, including a series of industrial actions by pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. The airline is also saddled with an estimated debt of $149 million.
But a highly placed source at the airline told SW Radio Africa on Thursday they are optimistic they will pass the audit test with flying colours. He said the audit will be done by an independent team of aviation specialists, that includes retired pilots, engineers and expert accountants.
IATA is a global aviation body that works with airline members and the air transport industry to promote safe, reliable, secure and economical air travel for the benefit of travellers
‘Of particular concern will be the operations of the airline. As such they will check the booking system, the financial books and the state of the airline’s aircraft. They will visit the hanger to see if the planes have been maintained whilst on the ground.
‘From there they will go for one or two test flights to monitor the flight and cabin crew to ensure their skills are compliant with the regulatory authority,’ the source said.
Air Zimbabwe has an impeccable safety record but has, like every other government company or agency, been dragged down because years of mismanagement.