Coup Plane's Fate Still Undecided
Authorities in Zimbabwe
say the Boeing 727-100 was carrying mercenaries bent on staging a
coup in Equatorial Guinea. They stopped for fuel at Harare
International Airport -- where they were discovered and taken into
But what about the plane?
The $3 million aircraft was seized by Zimbabwean officials and,
in September, ordered forfeit. The question now is, what to do with
"Our ministry never handled that issue. It was handled by the
justice and security ministries. We don’t know anything about
that airplane apart from that it was forfeited to the state last
year," said Zimbabwe's Transport and Communications secretary,
Karikoga Kaseke, quoted by the Sunday Mirror.
When the country's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, was
asked what's being done with the aircraft, he wasn't exactly
"The issue of that plane is an administrative matter," he told
the Mirror. "I think the only important thing that you have to note
is that the court ordered that the plane was forfeited to the
state. Whether it will be used or where it will be used is neither
here nor there, and if it becomes important for the public to know,
then we let them know. At the present moment there is no need for
the public to know what has happened to that plane.
Might the aircraft be
pressed into service as part of Air Zimbabwe's fleet? Probably not.
Even though Air Zimbabwe is, like many legacy carriers, struggling
at the moment, executives point out the 727-100 is 41 years old.
News reports also indicate the aircraft has strained under "heavy
usage," making it all the more undesirable for the country's
national air carrier.
The aircraft was owned by Dodson Aviation, based in Ratoul, KS,
before it was seized in Zimbabwe last March. Built in 1964 and sold
to the Air Force, the 727-100 saw service with the Air National
Guard and the General Services Administration. Boeing sold the
aircraft to Dodson in 1985. Several Dodson Aviation aircraft are
currently flown under South African registry.