Zimbabwe Airways (Harare Int'l) has taken delivery of its first aircraft following the positioning of B777-200(ER) Z-RGM (msn 28421) to Harare Int'l on Wednesday, April 11.

A Zimbabwean government statement said the 13-year-old aircraft is one of two that have been procured by the state via its Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company SPV.

Against the backdrop of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's demand for greater transparency on the murky project given its purported ties to officials in the former Mugabe regime, government has issued a statement clarifying the Zimbabwe Airways project timeline.

In the same statement, it said Air Zimbabwe (UM, Harare Int'l) had approached the State Procurement Board (SPB) in October 2016 for permission to acquire four ex-Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) B777s, a request that was duly granted in November of that year.

The Zimbabwean state, through its Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, then took the decision to secure funds to acquire the four widebodies alongside eight Embraer Regional Jets.

However, to date, only enough funding to acquire two B777s and one ERJ has been raised.

"Government also took the decision to lease the planes to third parties up to such a time as Air Zimbabwe develops a credible business plan to run the planes on a sustainable, profitable basis," it said.

"Accordingly, Government decided to lease the planes to a new aircraft firm called Zimbabwe Airways whch has already put in place credible plans for said planes."

The start-up has yet to secure its AOC from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ).