STRUGGLING national airline, Air Zimbabwe, will take delivery of two new Boeing 777 planes before the end of the year, Transport minister Biggie Matiza has said.
Speaking to journalists in Harare yesterday, Matiza said the two planes were part of the government efforts to revive the underperforming and undercapitalised national airline.
“We have made quite a lot of strides. We are having the B777s from Malaysia coming in before the end of this year. Payments have been done.
“As we speak now, we are organising the re-training of our pilots to be able to fly the planes, it’s just upgrading to enable them to fly the B777s. We also have our officials from the Civil Aviation Authority in Malaysia where they are making preparations for the planes to come. We are expecting the planes to come before December 15,” Matiza said.
The debt-ridden national airline, which boasted of 18 planes in 1980, when the country got independence from Britain, has been struggling for a number of years now. One of its planes was impounded in London in 2011 over a debt.
Matiza said the new planes would add to the country’s other two planes, the B737, the 767 and the Embraer jet acquired from Brazil, which is already in the country.
He, however, said the B737 was not flying at the moment as it was going through repairs and was expected to be back by end of this month.
“As you are aware we finally brought the Embraer jet, which is there. The registration process has taken longer, but we will make sure that by the end of the year, we should have completed the processes that we needed to complete. We are communicating with the Embraer company in Brazil. They are giving us the information that we want so that we can access the data and start to fly. Our 767 is the one that is flying now,” Matiza said.
He also said in a bid to boost the fleet, the government has also acquired an MA60 from Burundi through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac), a platform where the Chinese government renders assistance to African countries in various areas of development.
The plane would ply the domestic routes, while the bigger aeroplanes will service international routes.