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Air Zimbabwe Cancels Foreign Flights as Fuel Suppliers Demand Payment

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Cash-strapped Air Zimbabwe needed government help in April to settle a strike by air crews and was suspended by the International Air Transport Association soon after that over $280,000 in arrears

Financially troubled Air Zimbabwe canceled flights Wednesday and Thursday to London and South Africa after its fuel suppliers demanded cash payment up front until the carrier has settled debts of more than $1.5 million, industry sources said.

Air Zimbabwe on Wednesday shifted its passengers to South Africa onto other airlines, an arrangement made again Thursday for passengers to London.

Sources at the airports in western Bulawayo and northwestern Victoria Falls said domestic flights had not been affected - but added that the situation could change.

Chronically cash-strapped, Air Zimbabwe needed government help settle a March-April strike by air crews, and later was suspended by the International Air Transport Association over a $280,000 debt (since paid though the IATA wants a $1.7 million guarantee).

Harare economist Charles Mutasa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the only way to save the state carrier is for the government to privatize it.

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