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Air Zim looks East

Godfrey Marawanyika

AIR Zimbabwe is scouting for a possible strategic alliance with other airlines to ply the Zimbabwe/Far East route.

, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The move comes as government has increased its search for business in the Far East, especially China, after having been slapped with targeted sanctions by countries in the West, including the European Union and the United States.

Air Zimbabwe is considering such bargains as code sharing, ticket selling or a strategic alliance similar to that Kenya Airways has with KLM or what South African Airways concluded with Nigeria Airways.

According to the “Restructuring strategy for the period 2006”, done by the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe (Paz), the scouting for the alliance is being carried out in line with government interests.

“The airline industry is a fundamental component for the economy as it is a representation of Zimbabwe on the international stage,” Paz said in its policy document. “Any improvement in the national airline industry thus directly influences perceptions on Zimbabwe and impacts upon its development, as it will contribute to the tourism sector.

“Internationally, Air Zimbabwe is moving to the Far East for possible strategic alliances because of government’s business and tourism interests.”

The Paz policy document has short-listed Air Zimbabwe alongside eight other institutions for complete or partial privatisation.

Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Arthur Manase this week skirted written questions raised by businessdigest on the issue.

“Your questions have been noted,” he said. “They relate to far-reaching policy decisions which the airline, through its shareholder, government, and in particular the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, will unveil when the time is appropriate.”

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