Air Zimbabwe rebrands, acquires 4 Boeing 777-200 planes

CASH-STRAPPED Air Zimbabwe has reportedly rebranded to Zimbabwe Airways after concluding a long-term lease deal, which will result in the delivery of four modern Boeing 777-200 planes from Malaysia Airlines, NewsDay has learned.

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Zimbabwe airways

Pictures of the rebranded Zimbabwe Airways planes went viral on social media platforms yesterday.

The deal, according to sources at Air Zimbabwe, was signed by newly-appointed chief operating officer, Simba Chikore, as part of a fresh drive to beef up the national carrier’s fleet and increase its routes.

The national airline had reduced to domestic routes using the much-maligned Chinese made MA-60, an ageing 767-200 and refurbished Airbus A320.

“The project is being spearheaded by chief operating officer Chikore as the company forges ahead with restructuring. The planes, Boeing 777-200ER, are 12 years old Malaysian Airlines ex-fleet and four of them are expected soon,” the insider said.

Transport minister Joram Gumbo has in the past few weeks travelled to the Far East to negotiate and seal the deal.

Gumbo yesterday said he was out of Harare and had not yet been briefed on the development.

“I am outside of Harare at the moment. The board has not yet briefed me on that, check with the board,” he said.

AirZim board chairperson Chipo Dyanda was not reachable on her mobile phones and had not responded to text messages sent to her phone.

Gumbo has, in the past, urged the State to take over the airline’s $300 million debt to give it a clean start possibly under a new name.


The airline has over the past few years retrenched over 400 workers, but there were reports that it was still top-heavy and further cuts were imminent.

In the past four months, the airline had to rely on chartered planes to fly President Robert Mugabe on his international trips and routine medical check-ups in the Far East.

The European Union last month banned Air Zimbabwe from flying into the bloc, saying that their obsolete planes were now a security risk.

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56 Comments

  1. During the colonial era it was Rhodesia Airwiays and it was viable. One idiot renamed it Air Zimababwe and another one this time around names it Zimbabwe Airways. That will not make the airliner viable as long as it is managed form someone’s kitchen. I also notice the nauseating colours. Anyhow culture is also defined by some people’s colours and black tail signifies the “death culture” by who ever proposed it.

    1. People drive black coloured cars and wear black cloths across the world in the absence of death. Black in this case represents the black majority of Zimbabwe (I would have made green more dominant than black though). People give meanings to things and a common meaning is not always followed. You better start thinking about freeing your mind from the clutches of common understandings and be a little bit more creative. Its also time to forget about the word “Rhodesia” in your thought process because it belongs in the dust bins.

    2. Air Rhodesia AHHHHH. And as an ex Air Rhod/Zim employee I applaud trying to get the national flag carrier back on its feet.
      Personally I think the livery is awesome!

    3. #BringBackOurFlag

      mmmmmh iwe enda unofa . that rebrand is nice though stop hating.

      1. taura zvako.

        branding is nice. Pagonwa let’s appreciate

  2. Frankly speaking this is a commendable effort from the young man Simba. The choice of name or colours of the brand may be debatable another day but at least it shows fresh ideas & energy which this country so badly needs

    1. Mukanya waSvosve

      @Eagle what is commendable about piling on more debts on the un-viable airline. As long as the reasons that caused its current status remain, there is nothing commendable on the accumulation of more debts without concomitant improvement in the performance

  3. Not Sure if Ex-Malaysia fleet is the right choice. Do you follow aviation news? How many technical problems has that fleet registered in the past 10 years including disappearances? It’s important to check safety records before embarking on such expenditures in the interest of safety. Surely if Zanu stops looting government can strike a better deal with Airbus or Boeing. Those planes are being retired in Malaysia due to poor safety record and someone buys them and get the praise, that’s a bummer.

    1. BETTER START RETRAINING CREWS

    2. Vakomana ka. The last 2 tragedies by Malaysia had nothing to do with their aeroplanes. The first one, MH370 was a pilot who clearly changed course and sank the plane into the sea. No one knows yet but this has the hallmarks of a suicide. Suicidal pilots are not common but the 2 most recent were the Germanwings in 2015 which was brought down by the co-pilot and close to home the Mozambican LAM 470 in 2013 which was brought down by the pilot. The Malaysia plane has not been found not because of Malaysia but due to the fact that you dont just turn up to a sea and find an aircraft. Its a complex job vakomana. Then the other Malaysia plane was shot down by rebels over Ukraine in 2014. Again, not Malaysia’s fault.

      So we cant lease aircraft from Malaysia because of two tragedies that were not of their making? Aircraft have problems and some of the latest Boeing 737 planes are giving both Boeing and the operators nightmares due to the landing gear faults. And they are not even a year old. We all know the bottlenecks that threatened the 787 Dreamliner before it went into operation. So we should not get planes from Boeing then?

      I may be in the minority on this one but this is a very good move by the country. Its a step in the right direction. Lets get the other 3 B777 get them properly checked and put them into service. We cant have a situation where Ethiopian and Kenya fly into the country 35 times weekly while we watch.

      If properly run this airline can make a profit. London-Harare is one of the most lucrative routes in my humble opinion and that route needs non-stop flights.

      1. Mercy Zendera

        Well said

        1. very true stop hating

    3. Malaysia Airlines planes have no technical problems. One went missing and the Pilot is chief suspect. The other was shot down by a Russian missile over Ukraine.

      1. Nhai hako iwe. Malaysia is restructuring as well, focusing on routes that are profitable that is why they have these 777 available.

        There is going to be another wave of 777s available soon when Emirates get to the end of their leases and they begin taking delivery of the 777X, from 2019.

        People are going bonkers saying why are we getting second hand planes. The reality is we cant afford brand spanking new aircraft. One single 777-200 gobbles $260m. That is serious money. Money that Zimbabwe does not have at the moment. And in any way, the waiting list is huge so why waste money on a new 777-200 when the upgraded version fuel efficient 777X is on its way.

  4. New ambulances for the OLD TROLL…..makorokoto President Mugabe

    1. I like everything you have said.

    2. Let me clarify that I refer to Zuze’s comment..

  5. well done simba.. Those colours are just not looking good. Especially that black color..

  6. Air Zimbabwe was banned from flying into Europe not because it posed a security risk but was considered a safety risk and risk has nothing to do with the age of the aircraft but related to maintenance issues.

  7. I want to know where they got that design.The design is someones idea i know.Atone BP

    1. @pr I think the colours are suggested by a marketing agency in liason with the marketing dept at Air Zim.

  8. the colours are more zanupf than they resemble our flag.

  9. Boeing 777-200ER is a Boeing 777-200ER tapinda tapinda!!! Tofamba tetete zvedu. Thanks and well done mukwasha…!

    But the black tail though… Dene wangoita kuti ma colours aite even! Hazvina hazvo basa, chaka kosha kunzwa izwi rekuti

    1. Mangwani Mangwanani …

  10. You can rebrand to whatever, change the colours to whatever but if the underlying causes of the current problems are not attended to its all in vain. As a paying customer I am looking at safety, punctuality, price etc and not some colours or name suggested by some marketing agency.
    Air Zimbabwe mgt or whatever its called now need to look itself in the eye and go to work and do the basic things that will bring back customers.

  11. lets hope mugabe wont be using these planes for free

  12. The dominant colour on that plane is white guys, come on! And white is part of our flag too, so that’s great. I would prefer yellow at the tailend instead of black. The colours of the Zimbabwean flag were adopted from the colours of the liberation movements which were in use long before independence, which is why the colours of our flag are the same colours on the ZANU(PF) flag.

  13. Malaysian planes don’t have the best safety track record as of late,makanganwa the still missing MH370?

    1. What you need to look at is what is the safety record on a B777 and not of a particular airline. Yes, as a corporate, they don’t look good however, as a plane model, it has a relatively great safety record.

      1. Ko wapindwa neyi. Almost all airlines fly Boeing. Do you think Boeing will be maintaining our planes. Safety records come from how the “airline'” maintains and runs its fleet.

  14. hahahha

  15. Negativity is what’s killing our Nation. We are so quick to blame or find fault. Don’t take me wrong, I am not Zanu pf, but lets learn to appreciate an effort when we see one, regardless of the person behind it. I, personally congratulate the Zimbabwe Airways team for the rebrand and the acquisition of additional planes to the fleet. We wish you success. God bless Zimbabwe.

    1. Loveness Manyati

      A clean slate is good when it comes with clean hands , how about making the same effort to pay the outstanding debt. You cannot go to a bank access a loan as Simba Chikoore and then wake up mangwana decide you don`t want to pay and call yourself Chikoore Simba, that`s unheard of !!! So before you start speaking Mr VB understanding the history of airzimbabwe in its interity.

  16. all we need is proper management. A brand is worth it when it performs. Remember sunrise 1, sunrise 2 kusvika sunrise 30 but we still in the munky waters

  17. Although I have a number of reservations about the choice of colours and the B777 variants chosen, I think this is a commendable move from the powers that be. The use of long-range wide-body twin-engine airplanes shows how serious things are getting in our local aviation industry. I hope you are now thinking long-haul transoceanic routes and destinations? Well done again amana!

    However, without trying to be any negative I would like to say that colours and names don’t rebrand airlines. I would be happier seeing a total overhaul also in many of your other facets like your training department, recruitment and your general safety culture which is currently very undesirable. Also, include some young blood at policy formulation levels, musativharirewo mikana isu sevapfanha vechidiki we also have a few ideas that could help the new brand.

  18. Never mind about the new name and paint job. That two Malaysian B777s were lost in a year was not the fault of a plane, which is basically a good aircraft. The real question here is why get four large long-range planes when the real priority should be servicing short-haul local and regional routes? Even at its height, AirZim had only two B767s, one of which was chiefly occupied in flying Bob around the world. Better to get two B777s and three or four B737s.

  19. As a former employee of AirZim, I believe this is commendable work from the shareholder and management. The issue of safety has nothing to do with the age of the aircraft per se. Besides, as some of you would know, the 777 is the type being used by Ethiopian and Emirates right now to ply the Harare to Addis and Dubai routes respectively so there must something good about them. Change is good and re-branding is same.

    All the best to the new airline.

  20. Robert Gabriel Matuzvili

    I will never use AirZim in its many faces or names. AirSimbabwe, Air Matibili, Zim Airways, Chawasarira etc. Even if they change the stripes on the planes…its Air Matibili to me!

  21. well done air zim ,i’m just surprised at the outcry over the black tail. You wanted it to be white?

  22. Interesting – and a bit sad – that the black tail leads to regressive arguments about racism and “liberation movements”.

    I guess Mugabe and ZANU have done a good job in continuously trolling the younger generations about something that is now 40 years (over a generation) ago, and really just history now.

    We need to get on with C21, and the future. If the rebrand, and the new CEO, can work this, great.

    If the ZANU mess of a regime continues, and spills over onto the rebrand, then we know what really needs to change.

  23. Might I suggest that you do as I do, board Intercape sleepliner to Joburg and then connect with SAA to wherever you’re going… Simba Chikore has no experience whatsoever managing a bus company let alone an airline, and the fact that he’s related to Bob regardless of whatever questionable qualifications he has basically means ‘ meet the new boss, same as the old boss’.

  24. Never mind the stark out of place black colour – it’s that old red Communist Star that gives it all away and trashes the whole logo. It is Zanu PF to the core. For how much longer must we be reminded of that?

  25. MH370

  26. Dr PW Mamimine

    To fellow Zimbabweans,
    We must learn to depoliticise development issues and act as patriots. Let us cease to be professional arm-chair criticism, Somehow this explains why our country will never move forward as much as our country could. Its all because all we know and has specialised at is laughing at ourselves, our condition and our leaders. Where will this take us to? Let us learn to be patriots. A patriot is a person who puts the interests of his country first and anything else second. Whatever the situation, we need to wish our airline-Zimbabwe Airways good luck in its search for viability.

    1. Loveness Manyati

      Ko zvikwereti ngavabhadhare, you so called Drs aMaDr eTheology, it is not about politics but principle. How many lives were ruined by the debt racked up by these guys? Pay debt first then start afresh, this rebranding is just a mechanism of trying to run away from debt and that is why we don`t support it. It`s pointless to rebrand and at the core are the same useless principles!!!

  27. aaah this is not a solution at all. tsvaga chaita musoro uteme

  28. management rebranding is the best , not airline name

  29. Jongwe Rachembera

    It looks nasty. It looks so unprofessional, the huge emblem on the tail looks disproportionate and quite ugly. Rebranding a failed airline won’t make it suddenly profitable.

  30. mashizhamudenga

    if daddy buys a mercedes atleast try to show a smile of appreciation,… however i pray for legitimacy in all procedures and management thats going to go into this rebranding,.. and to all who have a thing against bob using the planes just know trump and obama use 747s which are way bigger and use tonnes more fuel than the little 767 our leader has been using,…

  31. Pasi neZanu Pasi naSimba pansi leZimbabwe airways. Pple with diamond fields flying on 2nd hand 12yr old plane , shame on you .

    Machimba amwina.

  32. As an ex Air Zim employee I wish you good luck. We were making a good airline back in the 1980’s and things went wrong, So new name new colours and new start. The colour scheme is a personal thing I don’t really like it.

  33. good idea, poor branding colour mixture. Inobva yaita kunge bhazi here kudaro amana

  34. Guys – I’m an outsider all the way in Brazil. So much negativity coming from you guys in Zimbabwe. The most important thing to note here is what Zuze said above – Zimbabwe needs an airline. Otherwise Air Kenya and Ethiopian will get the profits from you. Get these 777 flying to London, South Africa, Frankfurt… Start flying again. Otherwise, just stay as you are – !

  35. Musade kungoshora makambotarisawo order ye ma clours e flag re Zimbabwe here ? learn to separatepolitics and administration

  36. BRING BACK AIR RHODESIA

  37. BRING BACK AIR RHODESIA

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