The Government of Zimbabwe has taken delivery of the first of the two Boeing 777-200ERs that it purchased from Malaysia for the national airline, Air Zimbabwe. The second aircraft is expected to arrive in a few weeks and it is hoped that they will boost the airline’s plans to service long-haul routes and grow tourism.

Zimbabwe’s Acting President, Constantino Chiwenga, said government remained committed to ensuring that the national airline was restored to full functionality.

“Receipt of this Boeing 777 aircraft is clear testimony that we are taking concrete steps to capacitate our national airline, so that it plays a role in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and facilitating international trade and tourism,” he said.

Head of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Matabeleland North Chapter, Anald Musonza, agreed that air connectivity was crucial for tourism growth. “We are hopeful that Air Zim will work well with local operators and hotels to come up with packages that attract tourists to Zimbabwe.” He added that with this long-haul aircraft, the association would like to see the start of direct flights to Zimbabwe’s traditional source markets such as the United Kingdom.