Chinamasa out as ex-TelOne boss Chipo Mtasa named AirZim board chair

HARARE – Former TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa was on Monday appointed board chairperson of the struggling national carrier, Air Zimbabwe.

Mtasa retired as TelOne managing director in December last year after completing her two five-year terms as is prescribed by the law governing the running of public entities, having joined the telecommunications entity in 2013.

Under Mtasa, TelOne shifted its strategy from the loss-making fixed-line business on which it was founded, to becoming a more broadband-focused company.

In a statement, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said Mtasa would be deputised by Edmund Makona, described as “an aviation expert who has worked in the aviation industry for more than two decades.”

Mtasa takes over from former finance minister and Zanu PF secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa, who was in the role since June 2019.

“Her appointment is with effect from February 6, 2023,” Mhona’s statement said.

Mhona said Mtasa, a chartered accountant, and her board are expected to lead efforts to turnaround the national airline’s struggling operations.

“I wish Dr. Mtasa and her board great success as they lead Air Zimbabwe’s recovery process, through implementation of the Air Zimbabwe six-year Strategic Turnaround Plan, with the view to develop a dependable airline, with a robust hub and spoke network: with Harare and Victoria Falls as the main and tourist hubs respectively,” the minister said.

In 2021, the government committed to assuming Air Zimbabwe’s massive US$379 million debt, of which US$349 million is domestic and US$30 million foreign debt. The plan was to free the airline of its debt burden and make it attractive to potential partners.

Air Zimbabwe has not flown overseas destinations since 2012 when it was forced to cancel its cash-cow Harare-London route over threats to attach its planes.

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