By Ndakaziva Majaka
Fly Africa Zimbabwe (Fly Africa) will resume operations next month after an 18-month hiatus following its acquisition by a local company, Mugwagwa Resources, the businessdaily has learnt.
The airline’s executive chairperson Cassidy Mugwagwa said his company had so far invested $6,6 million into the carrier’s operations.
“We are taking to the skies next week… The issue has been Reserve Bank remitting payments, fuels coming in, we are not going to have a launch but we are going to take to the skies first,” he said in an interview.
Mugwagwa said Fly Africa currently has got access to seven aeroplanes and is locked in negotiations to purchase two more.
“The first two that we are buying are second-hand currently undergoing pre-delivery maintenance at Lufthansa in Germany, they are two Boeing 737 700 aircrafts,” he said.
The latest development comes as Fly Africa — which was previously 49 percent owned by Mauritius-based Fly Africa Limited — was grounded in 2015 after shareholder squabbles escalated resulting in former majority shareholder, Chakanyuka Karase, voluntarily submitting the carrier’s Airline operator Certificate (AOC) to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz).
Mugwagwa, however, said the airline had now secured all relevant documentation and regulatory approvals to commence flights.
“There is not a single certificate or flight licence that we do not have… We were granted our AOC two weeks ago… Before that we were given our government’s thumbs up to fly, via what they call an Air Service Permit from the ministry of Transport…,” he said.
The revamped airline is set to resume its old routes starting with local then venturing into regional flights around August.
“We are renewing the old routes, when we start to fly we are going to be doing domestic flights in what is called the Zimbabwe Triangle, that is Harare — Victoria Falls — Bulawayo and back the same way daily for a month or so, while our technical people get back into the business of things.
“A month later, we will then start with the regional flights to Johannesburg and then looking onwards to Gaborone and Lusaka …,” he said.
The new airline is, however, expected to face stiff competition from other local and international airlines such as Fastjet, South African Airways, Kenyan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Rwandair among others. Daily News