Air Zimbabwe insiders told Radio VOP that the new commercial passenger jet arrived on Wednesday morning. However, there were no dignitaries to accept the aircraft as happened in January when Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche and Central Intelligence Organisation boss Happyton Bonyongwe received the airline’s first airbus plane on behalf of the government which is the airline’s majority shareholder. Only some Air Zimbabwe senior officials were on hand to receive the plane.
Air Zimbabwe sourced the aircraft from China-Sonangol, an Angolan-based company. The aircraft, which is part of a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industries becomes the national carrier’s second jet after it took delivery of its first A320 in January, which it is leasing from China-Sonangol for a five year period. Prior to the agreement, the aircraft was being leased to Air Guinea International. However, the aircraft is not yet servicing any routes under unexplained circumstances. Since the arrival of the first Airbus in January, the aircraft is being kept in the Air Zimbabwe hangar at Harare International Airport. However, the acquisition of the aircraft was shrouded in controversy as the airline’s management and the board was not appraised about the purchase.
The purchase of the two commercial passenger jets adds to 10 the number of Air Zimbabwe’s aircraft although only one is currently functioning while the rest of its Boeing and Modern Ark 60 aircraft are undergoing maintenance check.