Air Zimbabwe’s New Embraer Still Grounded Four Months After Delivery
MORIBUND airline Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) has not yet obtained the crucial operating manual for its Embraer ERJ145, four months after taking delivery of the aircraft from the manufacturer, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.
This comes after the flag carrier missed its deadline to fly the twin-engine ERJ145 regional jet, which was initially set to take off within the first six weeks of delivery.
Flying the ERJ145 is dependent upon the embattled airline satisfying a rigorous process known as the “Know Your Customer” (KYC) in aviation circles. The manufacturer will furnish AirZim with the manual after fulfilling the requirements of that process.
Under the KYC exercise, clients have to prove their ability to maintain purchased aircraft, as well as show the competence of its cabin crew, among other requirements.
AirZim took control of the aircraft which was purchased in controversial circumstances by murky private airline Zimbabwe Airways from the United States in 2017.
In the absence of the operating manual, the plane cannot take off.
“The ERJ145 is not yet operating as we are still completing the Know Your Customer (KYC) application and approval process with the manufacturer, which process is already work in progress,” the response from AirZim reads.
“Once a KYC approval is granted we will have access to the requisite manuals which will allow the aircraft to become serviceable.”
The troubled airline, saddled with a US$381 million debt, now has three planes in its depleted fleet after the purchase of the ERJ145.
Only one of the three planes is currently flying, as the embattled airline battles to return to viability after decades of mismanagement and corruption. At Independence, AirZim had a fleet of 18 planes.
Government has also indicated that it intends to purchase two additional long-haul Boeing 777s as it seeks to expand the Air Zimbabwe fleet.
The ERJ145 is expected to ease pressure on the Boeing 767 which AirZim is currently flying. The Boeing 767 survived a mid-air scare when it caught fire in May.
AirZim was last year placed under reconstruction after creditors threatened to sue the state-owned airline.
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