The government of Zimbabwe has negotiated the terms for the release of the first two B777-200(ER)s for flag carrier Air Zimbabwe (UM, Harare International) from Malaysia, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza told the Zimbabwean daily The Herald.

"The national flag carrier, under reconstruction, could have taken the delivery of the planes a little bit earlier had the deal not been choked by administrative challenges. I sent a team to Malaysia headed by the permanent secretary to finalise the issue... The two aircraft are done, one should be released as soon as possible," he said.

The two aircraft are understood to be ex-Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur International) units previously due to be taken by stillborn start-up Zimbabwe Airways (Harare International). Z-RGM (msn 28421) and Z-NBE (msn 28422) are stored at Kuala Lumpur Subang. The first was delivered to Zimbabwe in 2018 but never deployed on commercial services and was subsequently ferried back to Malaysia on May 25, 2018, amid a payment dispute, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows.

Both aircraft are nearly 15 years old and are still owned by Malaysia Airlines. Z-RGM has accumulated 50,527 flight hours and 7,082 flight cycles and Z-NBE 50,426 flight hours and 6,986 flight cycles through June 30, 2019, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.

The two Boeing widebodies will significantly boost Air Zimbabwe's capacity. Currently, the carrier's active fleet is limited to a single B767-200(ER). The airline also has two A320-200s, two B737-200Adv.s, one E145, and one MA-60 on the ground.

Matiza said that the Embraer regional jet will shortly start flying after it completes certification in Zimbabwe. The aircraft, msn 145373, was delivered to Harare International in April 2019, wearing the livery of Zimbabwe Airways, but has yet to start revenue flights.