Zim’s new big Boeing fails to get off the ground

Harare – Aviation insiders in Harare say the new Boeing 777-200 bought for a new Zimbabwe airline company with state funds has returned to Malaysia without making a single flight.

Simba Chikore is former president Robert Mugabe son-in-law, who purchased the plane with Mugabe and three others from Malaysian Airways.

The national carrier Air Zimbabwe is not due to take on any new planes not just because of their bankruptcy.

According to insiders at the national carrier the new airline Zimbabwe Airways was not suppose to inherit the huge debt of the state airline.

Chikore did negotiate a deal with Malaysian Airlines from its stock of 17 similar planes that were no longer in use.

Zimbabwean aviation experts said, the 300-seater aircraft were too big and expensive to run for the country’s established airline routes.

The aircraft had a long-haul flight to the UK but it could no longer fly the route for safety reasons.

The first Boeing aircraft arrived in the capital last month in Harare and to welcome it was Chikore who was a pilot before for Air Zimbabwe, and Qatar Airways but he failed his practical test to be promoted to captain. He has never had commercial experience before the deal with Malaysia Airways was set up.

No Zimbabwean pilots nor ground crew were qualified to service the new aircraft, “Sending the plane back to Malaysia will cost a fortune. No one knows why it has gone, and the government isn’t telling,” said a long-serving Zimbabwe airman in Johannesburg this week.

Photo Credit- Harare Times

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