In an interview with The Herald, Tansport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo denied media reports that the Zimbabwe Airways aircraft had developed technical problems.
He said the plane acquired from Malaysia, the Boeing 777-200ER, was only taken back to Kuala Lumpur for routine maintenance, which is a prerequisite even if it is not flying. He also said they have not obtained an operator’s licence three months after the plane arrived from Malaysia. Said Gumbo:
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. 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.