By Paul Nyathi|Air Zimbabwe has refused to accomodate its “sibling” aircraft Zimbabwe Airways in its hangars at the Robert Mugabe International Airport it has emerged.
The national career is reportedly refusing to house the Boeing 777 jet in its hangars allegedly raising security and insurance concerns.
The aircraft which touched ground in the country from Malaysia over a month ago is reportedly parked in an open space at the domestic terminal of the airport and is exposed to weather effects especially the high temperatures that have been hitting the country in the last few weeks.
According to media reports, Transport Minister Joram Gumbo this week summoned senior Air Zimbabwe officials to his offices in a bid to force them to accomodate the aircraft whose ownership is still tied up in controversy.
“Minister Gumbo called acting CE (Justice) Makonese, the head of engineering and the legal affairs manager to his offices on Wednesday afternoon. He was unhappy about AirZim’s decision not to find space for the B777,” a source said.
The sources who spoke to weekend media said that the Air Zimbabwe hangars do not meet the standards required by the insurance companies for the plane of which the airline can not take the risk to accomodate the aircraft.
“The Air Zimbabwe hangar which was commissioned during Zimbabwe-Rhodesia era does not meet international standards for risk cover. It does not have smoke or fire detection system. It does not have a fire suppression system (automatic ceiling water/foam sprinklers. The other smaller hangar has been housing AirZim’s B737 which has been on major maintenance for more than four years now,” the source said.
Sources also indicated that the big jet could not be flawn to Bulawayo during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair because the runway at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport is too short for the Boeing 777. The runway at Bulawayo airport is 2,6km long and cannot accommodate the B777. The second largest runaway in Zimbabwe is Hwange (4,6km) which is under partial displacement due to asphalt damage followed by Victoria Falls (4km)
Contacted by the media for a comment on the issue, Gumbo said: “Ask those who have told you that, I never knew that it was an issue.”
Source The Standard Newspaper.