Chinese planes ‘too dangerous’ for Mugabe

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his 30-strong delegation, flatly refused to travel in one of the accident-prone MA60 Chinese planes to Malaysia for his annual holiday, aviation sources confirmed this week.
Mugabe, who left the capital two weeks ago, chartered a 197-seater Air Zimbabwe B767 f

rom Harare to Johannesburg for his delegation, which included his wife, children and at least 20 intelligence operatives despite the fact that it was a holiday. They connected with an intercontinental flight from there to Singapore.
Aviation sources said Mugabe was scheduled to travel in one of the three MA60 planes because his favourite 103-seater B737 was grounded because of a “planned maintenance schedule.”
However in correspondence to Air Zimbabwe, the President’s Office protested the plan to have Mugabe travel in the MA60 plane ostensibly because “it would put the President’s life in danger.” The short lifespan of the planes has been fraught with breakdowns and operational nightmares.
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba was unavailable for comment. But an official who spoke to us from the President’s Office said Mugabe’s travel arrangements were not for public consumption.
He however said the holiday was essentially for Mugabe’s family “but the President would be working through and through.”

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