Edmund Makona appointed Air Zimbabwe's substantive CEO


The Chipo Mtasa-led Air Zimbabwe board has appointed Edmund Murambiwa Makona as the national airliner’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Edmund Makona appointed new substantive CEO of Air Zimbabwe
Image: Herald 

Makona has been acting CEO since April this year, when he took over from Mr Tafadzwa Zaza.

The board confirmed the appointment in a statement released on Monday. "The Air Zimbabwe (Private) Limited board of directors is pleased to advise all stakeholders that Mr Edmund Makona has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Airline with effect from November 1, 2023. 

Mr Makona, has been appointed in terms of Section 14 (4) (b) of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act for an effective five-year term. At the time of his appointment, Mr Makona was the acting chief executive office," reads part of the statement.

Makona is a seasoned aviation expert with over three decades of experience in the African aviation sector.

He has been an aviation consultant with aeronautical engineering background, a type-rated licensed aircraft engineer, aviation quality, safety and security expert and a trainer for the aircraft engineers and pilots ground school.

Makona’s impressive background includes being a former CEO of Air Zimbabwe, where he successfully relaunched the airline in 2013.

He has also served both as president and executive committee member of the African Airline Association and is currently the ambassador of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) for the Africa Southern Region on the African Union (AU) initiative regarding the liberalisation of the African skies.

He has also held the position of President of the African Airlines (AFRAA) and has served as an independent consultant for IATA on various African airline missions.

Mr. Makona is expected to turn around the fortunes of Air Zimbabwe, and this substantive appointment shows that the board has shown confidence in the work he has been doing at the struggling national carrier since April.

“The board is keen on unlocking value from Makona’s diverse expertise and vast experience. We are confident that he will p the board’s vision to turn around the national carrier and reposition it to become a strategic, competitive and viable airline for the country,” concludes the statement.

Ten years on, Makona faces an uphill task at his role, reminiscent of 2013.

Air Zimbabwe is saddled with huge debts of over US$400 million. Part of a report released by the Auditor General for the financial year ending 31 December 2022 read: “The accumulated losses of US$407,843,950 have been recognised to date and that the company’s total liabilities exceed its assets by US$380,224,835.”

Air Zimbabwe has eight planes on its books, comprising six Boeing 700 series, an Airbus A320 and an Embraer ERJ145.

Of the eight aircraft, only the Boeing 737, Boeing 767 and the smaller Embraer ERJ 145 are currently in service.

The airline only operates domestic and regional flights from its hub in Harare to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam.

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