April 17, 2018: Zimbabwe has bought two Boeing 777 aircraft and an Embraer plane from Malaysia, the finance minister informed, adding the planes would be leased to a new local airline until national carrier Air Zimbabwe returned to profitability.
Patrick Chinamasa said Harare had agreed with an unidentified Malaysian firm to buy four Boeing 777 planes for $70 million but had so far paid for two.
The government had also paid for a small Embraer plane and plans to add five more such aircraft. The new planes are owned by a state-owned special purpose vehicle called Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company.
During a ceremony to receive the first Boeing 777 in Harare, Chinamasa said the aircraft would be used by Zimbabwe Airways, a new carrier whose ownership was not immediately disclosed.
Chinamasa said the government could not continue supporting loss-making Air Zimbabwe because it was like “putting resources into a bottomless pit.” Air Zimbabwe has debts of more than $300 million.
“Air Zimbabwe must put their house in order and as long as they don’t put their house in order, these planes I can lease to any third party who can pay treasury the lease fees for the utilizations of the aeroplanes,” Chinamasa said. Chinamasa said the Boeing planes had a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.