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Air Zimbabwe to lease out two planes

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

Troubled flag carrier Air Zimbabwe is going to lease two Boeing passenger planes acquired from Malaysia pending re-introduction of direct flights to China and London, the administrator has said.

The airline’s administrator, Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton, disclosed that nine companies have expressed interest to lease the two Boeing 777-200ER aircrafts, which have a carrying capacity of 282 passengers each.

However, it remains unclear whether the lease terms will be either dry lease where cabin crew will not be provided or damp lease, which is also known as Aircraft, crew, maintenance or insurance (ACMI) lease.

ACMI is an arrangement whereby the lessor agrees to provide an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance to the lessee in return for payment for the number of hours operated. The lessee provides fuel and covers airport and overflight charges and any other duties and taxes.

“The national airline will be leasing out the two Boeing 777-200ER aircrafts in the immediate, pending re-introduction of international flights to China and London after developing a robust domestic and regional route network. “During the lease period, the airline will embark on training of flight crew, maintenance and ground handling personnel. ,” Saruchera said.

Saruchera also indicated that Air Zimbabwe, which was placed under rec onstruction in October 2018 to allow it to clear its debts understood to be more than US$35m to foreign creditors and ZWL$260m locally, plans to procure an additional narrow bodied aircraft using proceeds from the lease of the aircrafts.

The aircraft will service domestic and regional routes.

” Proceeds from the lease of the aircraft will be applied towards the acquisition of additional narrow bodied aircraft, which will help strengthen the domestic and regional network,” Saruchera said.

Government acquired the two Boeing aircrafts four years ago from Malaysia.

Last month, government took delivery of the first of the two aircraft from Malaysia. The second aircraft, which is currently undergoing maintenance in Malaysia, is expected to be delivered next month.

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