PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has once again ditched the struggling national flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe and opted to fly to Guinea aboard a luxurious jet operated by Comlux — headquartered in Switzerland.
The plane, according to sources, flew from its Swiss base to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday morning to fetch the President although the national airline had an aircraft which could have flown him to Guinea.
“Air Zimbabwe was all the years been depending on presidential trips but since the coming in of President Mnangagwa, it has become very difficult to secure those deals.
“He opts to fly with a more luxurious aircraft. But this comes with a cost as the Swiss airline is paid in foreign currency while Air Zimbabwe would have been paid using the real time gross settlement process without stressing the national purse,” said a source at the national airline.
Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet responsible for presidential communications, George Charamba could not be reached for comment as he was said to be travelling with Mnangagwa, while Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza was not picking up his phone.
But senior staffers at the struggling Air Zimbabwe confirmed that Mnangagwa did not use their aircraft and opted for a foreign airline instead.
To show that Air Zimbabwe had the capacity, the airline flew to Tanzania although not at full capacity. It could have cashed in more had Mnangagwa chartered its plane.
In April, Mnangagwa reportedly blew $2,3 million to charter the same plane on his State visit to Beijing, China.
Attempts to get a quotation from Comlux were fruitless as their marketing department had not responded to e-mailed questions from NewsDay.