On Tuesday afternoon, traffic in Harare came to a standstill as hundreds of city dwellers and civil servants stopped and scanned the sky to get a glimpse of the newly acquired 300-seater Boeing plane.
According to local reports, Bona Mugabe the daughter of ousted president Robert Mugabe was also at the airport to witness the arrival of the gigantic vessel.
Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from Malaysia, which is part of an envisaged fleet of 10 aeroplanes to be managed under a new company tasked to boost the local aviation sector.
The 300-seater plane, which touched down at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is wholly-owned by the Government’s special purpose vehicle, Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company, which, in turn, is leasing the aircraft to Zimbabwe Airways.
Zimbabwe Airways is also owned by the Government and was formed to give Air Zimbabwe (Airzim) time to come back to its feet and recover from its debts.
The second Boeing has already been paid for in Malaysia and is expected in the country soon.
The country’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has been quoted saying the Zimbabwe government had so far paid $35 million for two Boeing 777s. He said the government plans to acquire six more smaller aircraft.
Debt-ridden Air Zimbabwe is currently banned from flying to Europe because of safety concerns.
Last year there was speculation the government of former president Robert Mugabe would try to create a new airline called Zimbabwe Airways so that it can resume flights on lucrative European routes.