Air Zimbabwe Takes Delivery of First Airbus

The commercial passenger jet landed at Harare International Airport on Tuesday morning where Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director-general Happyton Bonyongwe accepted it on behalf of the Zimbabwean government.

The aircraft is now parked in the Air Zimbabwe hangar at Harare International Airport, where insiders at the state-run airline said it will be painted with the national flag carrier’s colours.

However, instead of gratifying stakeholders, it is the involvement of the dreaded CIO agents in the deal that has left many stakeholders puzzled.

Sources said most of Air Zimbabwe’s management is in the dark regarding the acquisition of the aircraft.

Air Zimbabwe board chairperson Jonathan Kadzura could not confirm the delivery of the aircraft as he said he was on leave.

“I am not aware. I am on leave so I don’t know,” said Kadzura.

The Airbus A320 is being leased by an Angolan-based company, China-Sonangol for five years and Air Zimbabwe will pay $500 000 per year in lease fees. Prior to the lease agreement, the aircraft was being leased to Air Guinea International.

Air Zimbabwe had delayed taking delivery of the Airbus A320, which is part of a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industries because the aircraft could not be registered in Zimbabwe as the type of aircraft is not on the Civil Aviation authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) register.

It has since been registered under a temporary registration from France while the national airline is sorting out its registration in Namibia. The registration process is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies a civil aircraft, in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile.

Out of eight airplanes owned by Air Zimbabwe, less than five planes are functional as some have been grounded due to accidents and failure to secure spare parts.