By John Kachembere
NATIONAL airline, Air Zimbabwe, has engaged an Argentine global aviation software developer, Seabury Solutions, to assist with its aircraft maintenance.
The national flag carrier, which last month laid off 200 workers, roughly half of its staff as part of a turnaround strategy to restore profitability, said engaging Seabury was a first, but crucial, step towards revival.
“The control of our technical operations is the foundation of the building blocks we are putting in place,” said Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Ripton Muzenda, under whose leadership the airline is expected to embark on an ambitious journey to reclaim its place in the skies.
“We want to bring Air Zimbabwe back to its glory days. Working with an industry leader in Seabury Solutions, that transformation can begin. The software solution is proven and the people behind it understand the complexity of our operation,” he added.
The airline, which was established in 1946 and boasted of a fleet of 18 planes at Independence in 1980, is currently operating a small antiquated fleet which has greatly compromised operations and increased costs, rendering the airline uncompetitive.
The national carrier has operated a number of different aircraft types in recent years that include Embraer ERJ-145s, British Aerospace’s BAe 146s, Airbus’ A320 and Boeing’s 737-200 short-haul models as well as the larger, wide-bodied Boeing 767-200ERs. Currently the airline is using ageing Boeing planes that are more than 20 years old.
Seabury, a subsidiary of United States-based Seabury Capital LLC, said it was confident its Alkym management and control system for aircraft maintenance would help transform Air Zimbabwe’s fortunes.
“This first half of 2017 has demonstrated that Alkym continues to lead the industry in providing the top-of-the-market functionality across the aviation world,” Seabury’s senior vice president John Barry said.
“While we are currently deploying Alkym in Europe, South America and the Caribbean, once again Africa will see our teams on site, proving time and again that cost effective solutions are required but must never compromise on functionality,” he added.
Seabury, with offices in Ireland, Netherlands, Argentina, USA and the Philippines, has more than 10 years of experience and specialisation in the development and implementation of world-class software solutions for aviation.
Air Zimbabwe becomes the fourth Africa-based flag carrier to use the company’s software. The airline has opted for 13 of the 18 modules from Alkym.
It has struggled to keep afloat over the last decade and plans to carry out a restructuring exercise that will include retraining of all staff, including top management.
Unconfirmed reports say that a name change is also in the pipeline – a move many believe is an attempt to ring-fence the airline’s debt and reduce the threat of creditors seizing the planes.