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Air Zimbabwe, On Its Last Legs, Gains Lifeline from Chinese Investors

Air Zimbabwe, which has struggled to stay afloat amidst the country’s financial crisis and a pilot strike, has reached an agreement with a Chinese company to purchase 2 A340s for the carrier. In addition, the airline has reached an agreement to wet-lease 737-500s from Air Zambezi, allowing Air Zimbabwe to stay afloat. The struggling company was due to retire its ancient 737-200, which is scheduled to come out of service in June.

The airline is still not without major issues. Besides having a completely untenable business model, they owe $2.5 million to Lufthansa Technics for maintenance payments on a 767 engine. A $500,000 payment is due in May; likely they will not make the payment and will then forfeit the engine (and, obviously, the ability to fly the plane). In addition they owe $1.5 million in insurance payments which will likely not be made.

Saving Air Zimbabwe is hardly the first concern for the country, which is an unmitigated disaster, but it’s always sad to see an airline collapse so spectacularly.

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