Africa: Zim Airways planes flown back to Malaysia for maintenance- Gumbo
Government says one of the four long haul planes acquired from Malaysia, the Boeing 777-200ER, has no mechanical problems and was only taken back to Kuala Lumpur for routine maintenance, which is a prerequisite even if it is not flying.
Aeroplanes have a strict regime of maintenance, unlike vehicles, and since such checks could not be done locally or on the continent — because the aircraft does not have an operating licence to be flown to Kenya or South Africa — it was resolved that it should be taken back to Malaysia using the ferry licence gotten when it was first delivered to Harare.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo told The Herald Business last week that contrary to media reports that the aircraft had developed technical problems, it had been flown back for routine maintenance.
“No plane ever had challenges. What happened is that when that aircraft came, we only got a ferry licence to bring it here with the hope that we were going to get more money from (RBZ Governor Dr John) Mangudya to pay for our licence fees. He could not pay our licence fees,” said Dr Gumbo.
“When an aircraft is not flying, even if it has a new part, it has to be continuously maintained. But because we can’t fly it to South Africa or Kenya where it can be maintained, and because we can’t do it here, we then took it back where it can be maintained.
“So it is just there for maintenance because we have not obtained an operator’s licence.”
The Boeing 777-200ER, and three others, were purchased with a view to resume intercontinental flights.
The planes were expected to be operated by the Zimbabwe Aviation and Leasing Company (ZALC).
By Africa Moyo