New govt airline acquires Malaysian aircraft

ZIMBABWE Airways, a government-owned entity aimed at re-establishing long-haul operations, is set to add its maiden aircraft, a B777, it has emerged.
Establishing a new company would likely help the government avoid problems created by the debt pile which has essentially crippled flag carrier Air Zimbabwe, making it impossible for the airline to service lucrative routes such as Harare-London.
A considerable part of Zimbabwe’s diaspora is based in Britain but Air Zimbabwe last operated the London route in 2012 when it was expelled from the International Aviation Transport Association (IATA) clearing house after accumulating fee arrears which now stand at $3.5 million.
It was also revealed recently that Air Zimbabwe had been banned from flying to Europe due to safety concerns over its aged aircraft.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Airways start-up has secured an ex-Malaysia Airlines B777-200 (ER) with it having conducted air tests at Malaysia’s Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, formerly Kuala Lumpur International, on June 24.
Earlier this year, reports indicated Zimbabwe Airways would acquire four B777s for use in resuming long-haul flights to Europe and the Far East.
Despite repeat announcements proclaiming its imminent resumption of flights to London Gatwick and Guangzhou, China, national carrier Air Zimbabwe has yet to do so ostensibly because of the threat of asset seizures over unpaid debts.
Majority owned by the government and run by President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore as chief operating officer, Air Zimbabwe owes $300m.
Creditors are known to include Algerian air navigation service provider ENNA, Pan African air navigation provider ASECNA, China’s National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), Aero Industrial Sales, and American General Supplies.