When Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980, the national airline Air Zimbabwe had a fleet of 18 aircraft. Now it is barely operating with only six and there were plans to close it down completely.
In its place, the old Mugabe-led government was planning to launch an entirely new airline Zimbabwe Airways. The name, “Zimbabwe Airways”, is owned by Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company (ZALC). The owners and directors of ZALC are not known since the official company records have disappeared. However, Simba Chikore, ex-chief operating officer of the other airline Air Zimbabwe, and son-in-law of ex-President Robert Mugabe, is rumoured to have a connection to Zimbabwe Airways.
Zimbabwe Airways owns four long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft which it purchased from Malaysia Airlines.
Now, the new government may be reversing that plan. The Transport Minister Jorum Gumbo has proposed to his cabinet colleagues an urgent rescue plan for Air Zimbabwe using the upbeat theme that “Zimbabwe is open for business”. Gumbo said “There are plans to revive Air Zimbabwe and these will be made public in due course. As for now the plan is under discussion”.
The Air Zimbabwe rescue plan may include the Finance Ministry clearing the airlines historic debts of US$330 million. And then purchasing new aircraft, maybe from Asia.
Also, the government is interviewing candidates for the vacant positions of CEO and COO at Air Zim.