Zimbabwe yesterday took delivery of the first of four Boeing 777 planes procured from Malaysia Airlines for $70 million, with a Cabinet minister saying the planes neither belonged to former president Robert Mugabe nor his son in law, Simba Chikore.
Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said the Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company (ZALC), which owns the plane and will be leasing aircraft to third parties, was 100 percent controlled by government. He said ZALC had chosen Zimbabwe Airways (Zim Airways) as the company to lease the planes. He said ZALC had chosen Zimbabwe Airways (Zim Airways) as the company to lease the planes.
The offer was also open to Air Zimbabwe, but it had to develop the capacities required to run a viable operation, he said.
ZimAirways is also controlled by government.
The acquisition is part of a grand plan to rebuild the aviation industry, which will see government purchasing six small aircraft to add to the 777s, which are expected to ply international destinations.
"The plane is a property and asset of government," Chinamasa said, noting that government had paid $41 million of the $70 million price for the airliners.
"Mr Simba Chikore has no shareholding in that plane directly or indirectly. We have paid for two of the planes. The second plane should come soon. What we want from them is at least a breakeven position. We don't want them to come to us to seek subsidies," he said.