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Airways Board ordered to buy SD airline

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image Minister of Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini.

MBABANE – Government wants the country to acquire a national airline within the next two years.


It has commissioned the new Royal Swazi National Airways Corporation (RSNAC) Board to make sure that this happens.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini said this was the biggest assignment the Board had to fulfil since His Majesty King Mswati III will soon open the new Sikhuphe International Airport. 


He was speaking during the announcement of the new Board headed by Nokuthula Mthembu at the ministry’s offices yesterday.
The Board is expected to first conduct a feasibility study of this mega project and, thereafter, purchase the new aircraft.
“We want the RSNAC not only to be an air ticket-sale point but to also run an airline. I know that there will be an outcry but there are things that cannot be run away from. The Board should also explore reviving the corporation’s old routes,” said the minister.


Asked about the size of the airline, Dlamini declined to commit himself and said such details would be known after the study by the corporation.
The kingdom has not had an airline of its own for over a decade.


The last Swazi airline was a Fokker 100 (Lijubantsendzele), which was eventually sold by government as it had become a liability to the state. Dlamini mentioned that one of the reasons the airline failed was due to mismanagement.


Since then, Airlink Swaziland, which is a subsidiary of the South African Airlink Company, has been the main air passenger carrier for the nation.
Apart from getting a new airline, the minister tasked the Board with seeing to it that the RSNAC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) positions were filled. Furthermore, the Board has to work together and put the interests of the nation ahead and also be guided by the Public Enterprise Unit (PEU) ordinances.


The Board will also see to it that the gratuity payment of the corporation’s personnel every two years was stopped, as the goal had now shifted to making the staff permanent.
“Government is fully behind you,” assured the minister.

 

Nokuthula Mthembu bounces back

 

MBABANE – Nokuthula Mthembu has bounced back as the head of the Royal Swazi National Airways Corporation (RSNAC) Board.


Mthembu, who is a teacher by profession, was reappointed by Minister of Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini.
She was chairperson of the previous Board. The board has a term of two years in office.


Other members of the board are Janet Mzungu from the Ministry of Finance, President Dlamini former RSNAC employee, Makhosi Vilakati (an attorney), Gcinangaye Tsabedze (SBIS Deputy Director), Makhosazana Dlamini (acting RSNAC CEO who will be Secretary of the Board) and Cyril Kunene (Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport).


Meanwhile, the chairperson, in an interview, said it was encouraging that there was political will in seeing the country’s airline revived.
“Swaziland needs to have a national airline and Sikhuphe International Airport underpins the necessity for that,” Mthembu said.


The Board will first research on the viability of the venture, assess resources availability which is key, and work hand- in hand with regulatory bodies such as the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) to ensure existing legislation was upheld. Furthermore, the board will scrutinise existing agreements that government has with other airlines which may hinder or jeopardise the execution of the given mandate, and also form partnerships with airlines that are already doing well in the industry.


Mthembu mentioned that the board counted on government  support in the revival mission and having an airline bearing the country’s national colours and flying over the African and international skies.
“We promise to work diligently, professionally and honestly to carry out the mandate,” she added.


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