Air Zimbabwe. New dawn?

Zimbabwe has always been an interesting country. A country bordered by the Zambezi river to the North accompanied with the Great Victoria falls, while having a not so pristine aviation record in terms of the operations of its airlines.

A few years ago, Zimbabwe bought 4 Boeing 777-200s from Malaysia Airlines which would be destined for Zimbabwe Airlines, a new start-up meant to succeed the debt-ridden Air Zimbabwe.

Fast forward to 2018, one of the aircraft arrived in Zimbabwe bearing the Zimbabwe Airlines colours(way different from Air Zimbabwe). A few days later, a scandal emerged that the Zimbabwean govt had overpaid for the two aircraft with $140m ‘disappearing’ into thin air.

May 2018;

None of the 777s sitting in HRE had conducted a single flight with a controversy rising with Air Zimbabwe which refused to give Zimbabwe Airlines a Hangar to store the 777 claiming that the facility lacked necessary safety equipment hence not up to intl standards.

The aircraft finally flew for the first time but back to Kuala Lumpur for maintenance checks(A-checks to be specific)

September 2018;

The Zimbabwean govt announces that Air Zimbabwe would merge with Zimbabwe Airlines. According to the New Zimbabwean:

THE controversial Zimbabwe Airways has been merged with the troubled Air Zimbabwe, transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza confirmed Monday.

Simba Chikore, son-in-law to former president Robert Mugabe, took a lead last year in the establishment – using State funds – of Zimbabwe Airways in a murky deal with left many believing the former first family owned the airline.

Plans to establish the airline however, hit headwinds after Mugabe was toppled last November by the military.

Addressing reporters in the capital Monday, minister Matiza confirmed at the two airlines had been merged, adding that Zimbabwe Airways aircraft would service regional and international routes.

“I would like to inform the nation that Zimbabwe Airways is a government entity,” the minister said.

“It is important to know that Air Zimbabwe does not have the adequate aircraft mix, an issue which has forced the airline to operate at a deficit.

“With the new aircraft in place government intends to merge Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways to complement one another on local and international routes.”

Asked on why government had set up Zimbabwe Airways in the first place, considering the administration’s failure to capitalise Air Zimbabwe, Matiza said there was nothing wrong with having a second national airline.

“There is nothing wrong with having two national airlines; it (Zimbabwe Airways) was set-up for strategic business but our main purpose right now is to have Air Zimbabwe in the sky,” he said.

March 2019;

Rumours emerge that Ethiopian Airlines will buy a stake in the airline, helping it to realize some returns.

January 2020;

The 777 from a few years back resurfaces to much fanfare. The government sounds excited to start new long haul services to the United Kingdom and China. With all the drama Zimbabwe has gone through for the recent years with its airlines, is this a fresh start or a charade that is part of a vicious cycle?



Been there in real life. Zimbabwe is a crazy place with all of the corruption.

It’s a very unfortunate story. As an African, it’s sad that despite all the natural beauty around us, the resources etc, we still have cases of gross mismanagement which has hit the aviation sector hard and this is just an example of many cases out there.


I have been to Zimbabwe as well. It saddens me to know that the government is so full of corruption and the people are suffering; that $140 million “disappears”, Mugabe’s daughter flies around the world on shopping trips, and they can’t even get their own currency off the ground. I don’t see how operation of a 777 could be viable either.

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I just read, they will be leasing out the 777’s

It’s a mess. If this is true, it’ll be a wiser decision than allowing the jet to gather dust at HRE. Apparently starting an airline with 777s is not the most sound idea after all.

Air Zimbabwe has been plagued with leadership issues from the beginning, and the fuel shortage in zimbabwe has not helped in the least. Lack of grid power at the airport. Government Officials that are only in it for the money. This is gonna be a hard point in time for them

Sidenote: I am a resident of the country and I am allowed to talk about my government in the way I did.

All of the corruption aside, the country is really nice.

Apart from the main officials, the govt people you would meet at places like Robert G. Mugabe Airport are actually quite friendly and don’t even take bribes. I actually was unintentionally holding dollar bill behind my passport that I forgot to put away and the passport control could have easily taken it, they handed it back to me right away before I even noticed.

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Africa could probably be the biggest tourist continent if most countries didnt have a corrupt system and is safe.

This could be some new light for them but the demand would need to be there.

Agreed, the corruption is intense but the safety issue is exaggerated by the Western media. Sure, there are some cases e.g Somalia(which is recovering) that have cases of terrorism which is pretty much everywhere, either way, walking through Nairobi is not anywhere less safe than say Paris.

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