From : The Herald
By : Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

12 March 2012

GOVERNMENT has disbanded Air Zimbabwe Holdings and formed a new State-owned company, Air Zimbabwe Private Limited.  National Handling Services, a subsidiary of Air Zimbabwe Holdings, will now operate as a stand-alone company.  An interim board to oversee operations of the new company has since been appointed.

Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Nicholas Goche said Cabinet had since approved the formation of the new airline.

He said an extraordinary annual general meeting of shareholders will be held on March 20 to pass resolutions required by the law to effect the changes. Shareholders of the new airline are the Ministries of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development and Finance.

Minister Goche said Government would urgently seek a strategic partner on the basis of an equity shareholding amid indications that foreign airlines and some investors were eyeing stake in the new firm.
He, however, declined to name the interested investors.
Secretary for Transport Mr Patson Mbiriri chairs the interim board.
Other board members include Mr Andrew Bvumbe (Finance), Dr Sylvester Maunganidze (Tourism and Hospitality), Ms Florence Nhekairo (Environment and Natural Resources Management), Mr Eliah Mutowo (State

Enterprises), Engineer Simba Mangwengwende (Zesa) and Stansilaus Mangoma (Indutsry and Commerce).
Said Minister Goche: “At its fifth 2012 meeting, Cabinet approved the recommendations of its ad hoc committee on Air Zimbabwe in respect of Air Zimbabwe Holdings Private Limited.

“The recommendations, which Cabinet approved were that NHS be hived off Air Zimbabwe Holdings Pvt Ltd, while Government takes over Air Zimbabwe Holdings’ assets, liabilities, contracts and employees.
“With respect to debts, these will be ring-fenced by Government pending legal processes of dismantling Air Zimbabwe Holdings Pvt Ltd.”
Minister Goche said Air Zimbabwe Holdings’ assets and liabilities will be evaluated in relation to the airline’s debts and other crucial considera-tions.

He said a financial consultant will be engaged to advise the shareholders on a viable business plan and organisational structure.
Minister Goche said the advisor will also consider possible acquisition of some of the existing equipment deemed necessary by Air Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd.

“A lot of investors have approached us, including some airlines, with a view of forming partnerships. The committee of officials dealing with the resuscitation of the national airline will look into these offers and see which one is suitable,” he said.

After consulting with the financial advisor, Minister Goche said the new airline will launch its service using leased aircraft starting with domestic routes after which regional and international routes will follow.

Air Zimbabwe Holdings has been facing numerous challenges, which had forced it to suspend its services.
At one point an Air Zimbabwe plane was impounded in London by an American company over US$1 million debt.