Kuala Lumpur - State-owned Zimbabwe Airways, has lost one of the four Boeing 777-200ER aircraft expected because of the payment delay.
The wide-body registered 9M-MRL, had already been painted with the livery of Zimbabwe Airways. But it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Kansas City instead of Harare on November 16 for a new customer.
The “Z” and “W” letters on the livery were removed to hide the name of the company. The new owner of the device is the U.S carrier Jet Midwest, according to rumors.
The initial plan was to acquire four Boeing 777-200ER that were removed from the fleet of Malaysia Airlines. But the airline has managed so far to pay for two aircraft. Now there are only three Boeing 777-200ER parked at Kuala Lumpur waiting to be delivered to Zimbabwe Airways. Two of them are already painted with the colors of the African carrier.
Malaysia Airlines lost two of its B777s in 2014, one shot down by a missile while flying over Ukraine and another disappeared from the radars and lost in the Pacific Ocean because of an unknown reason.
In March 2016, Malaysian Airlines decided to retire all seven Boeing 777s in the fleet because of the bad luck attributed to the aircraft type.
Launched in 2016, the establishment of Zimbabwe Airways has transformed into a scandal. The government claimed that the airline was a private company but admitted at the end that it was state-owned.
Zimbabwe Airways is expected to take over routes long abandoned by Air Zimbabwe, such as Harare-London and Harare-Beijing.