Loss-making Air Zimbabwe is cutting half of its 400 jobs as part of a restructuring plan meant to revive the ailing national carrier, Chairwoman Chipo Dyanda said today.
Like most state-owned companies in the southern African country, Air Zimbabwe has been making losses for years due to mismanagement, high operating costs, old aircraft and equipment. Dyanda told Reuters that Air Zimbabwe would cut 200 jobs in its fourth round of lay-offs in eight years.
"We were overstaffed by a lot and we are also trying to weed out people without the right qualifications," Dyanda said. "The retrenchment is meant to give space to the airline so that we can redeploy the money saved back into the company."
Air Zimbabwe cut 300 jobs in August 2015 following cuts in 2009 and 2013, but has since rehired some of the workers. President Robert Mugabe's son-in-law Simba Chikore was appointed chief operating officer last October, drawing accusations of nepotism from the opposition and critics of the government.
Dyanda said Air Zimbabwe required a ratio of 45 workers per aircraft. The airline currently flies four planes, which has forced Mugabe to at times hire private jets for his foreign travels. "As part of the strategic plan, we would like to get more reliable planes and expand our routes," Dyanda said, without giving details.
An official at Zimbabwe's Ministry of Transport said the airline, which has debts of more than $300 million, is looking to lease aircraft from Malaysia.
South Africa's consumer confidence slipped deeper into negative territory in the second quarter, highlighting households' concerns about the weak outlook for the economy, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The consumer confidence index, sponsored by First National Bank (FNB) and compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research, slumped to -9 in the second quarter after registering -5 in the first three months of the year.
"Despite the recent deceleration in food inflation, food prices remain very high and will continue to dampen the real purchasing power of consumers, especially for low income households," FNB senior economic analyst Jason Muscat said.
"Per capita real disposable income is set to deteriorate further on the back of exceedingly poor economic growth, little to no job creation, and substantial increases in personal income taxes for middle and high-income earners," he added.
South Africa sank into recession for the first time in eight years in the first quarter, hit by weakness in consumer sectors such as wholesale, retail and accommodation.
Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra - Reuters