By Jonisayi Maromo
In a bid to resuscitate the national carrier Air Zimbabwe, the government has bought two second-hand Boeing 777-200 long haul aeroplanes from Malaysia to augment its fleet.
The first plane landed at Robert Mugabe International Airport in the capital Harare on Monday, while the second one is due in a few weeks.
Acting President Constantino Chiwenga led the government delegation that received the plane, with much celebration and toasting.
Its reported that the order for the US$16.5 million plane was initially placed in 2016 as part of an elaborate scheme by the government to create a debt-free state-owned airline, after which Air Zimbabwe, saddled with over US$300 million in debt, would be allowed to collapse.
But Zimbabwe Airways, which was headed by late former president Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore, failed to take off after Air Zimbabwe’s creditors became aware of the apparent ploy by the government to create a proxy.
The aircraft which landed in Harare on Monday is reportedly 15 years old and has been parked since 2015 after Malaysia Airlines decided to retire its entire B777 fleet following the disappearance of flight MH370 in 2014 and the downing of MH17 by a missile over Ukraine in the same year.
The plane, bearing the registration Z-RGM, was named in honour of Mugabe, according to ZimLive.
Last year, Airports Company South Africa momentarily impounded Air Zimbabwe’s sole operational aircraft over mounting debt. African News Agency (ANA)