Air Zimbabwe’s small aircraft fleet might have an average age of 22 years but is considered young in terms of its use and the national carrier plans to expend it before considering renewing it, the chief executive officer said today.
Aviation experts say an aircraft’s lifespan is not measured in years but in pressurisation cycles, that is, in terms of each take off. A plane’s fuselage and wings undergo extreme conditions of stress each time a plane is pressurised during flight, suffering metal fatigue over time.
Air Zimbabwe chief executive Edmund Makona told journalists at a briefing in Harare that the airline’s turnaround strategy hinged on the effective utilization of resources at its disposal.
“When we look at Air Zimbabwe today we see that we have aircraft that were procured as far back as 1989 and 1990. These have an average lifespan of 75 000 cycles, but they have only been used to around 14 000 cycles,” Makona said.
“So when you look at the life remaining, not in terms of age but in terms of usage, these aircraft have been underutilised. Aircraft are not designed to be on the ground so we want to maximize them first.”
The current fleet complement comprises of two B767s, three B737s and three MA60. The national airline has been under pressure to renew and expand its fleet in the face of growing competition. The airline has resorted to leasing planes to service some of its routes from time to time.- The Source