Simbarashe Chikore: Mugabe's Son-in-law not Linked to Zim Airways

Harare - Contrary to recent media reports, Robert Mugabe's son-in-law Simbarashe Chikore is not a shareholder in the newly established Zimbabwe Airways, according to a cabinet minister. 

Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa made the announcement as the government received the new Boeing 777 aeroplane recently at the Robert Mugabe International Airport . The plane is part of the 10 planes expected with three, two Boeing 777s and one smaller one, already paid for.

Chikore - the former Air Zimbabwe chief operations officer was part of the crew that flew the plane from Malaysia, together with his wife Bona Mugabe.

Air Zimbabwe is battling a serious shortage of aircraft amid indications that it only has two serviceable aeroplanes, resulting in crippling flight cancellations that have dented the company’s integrity among travellers.

Social media has been awash with messages mocking Air Zimbabwe for flight delays plus cancellations, while romours of its takeover by the first family was rife.

"The aeroplanes are are an asset and property of government. speculation has been rife that the first family has interest in the deal. Chikore has no shareholding in the planes.
Simbarashe Chikore and Wife Bona

The retrenchment exercise, which targeted addressing the parastatal’s bloated management, has helped Air Zimbabwe to reduce staff costs by 23 percent of total monthly revenue, which averages US$2,6m.

Air Zimbabwe’s aircraft fleet has been declining from 18 in 1980 to five as at August last year, before further coming down to two at the moment. The planes are occasionally hit by mechanical problems resulting in flight schedule disruptions, which leave passengers stranded.

Government has also been considering finding a technical partner for Air Zimbabwe so as to resuscitate the company. Nonetheless, the process has occasionally hit turbulence amid indications that Government was considering abandoning the proposal and locate internal measures to bring Air Zimbabwe back to its feet.

Flight disruptions continue to eat into Air Zimbabwe’s revenue as the firm meets passengers’ transport, hotel and meal costs. Challenges dogging Air Zimbabwe have reportedly seen its passenger numbers coming down to 230 000 per year in recent years compared to a peak of one million in 1996.

In the last three years, annual revenue figures were US$32,8 million in 2015; US$34,2 million (2016) and US$29 million last year. - Online Sources

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