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Air Zimbabwe Flights to South Africa Still Grounded Over Debt Crisis

  • Gibbs Dube

Innocent Mavhunga, the airline’s general manager told Studio 7 Monday that Air Zimbabwe will resume flights anytime soon though indications are that it has failed to reach a debt payment agreement with its creditor, Bid Air Services

Air Zimbabwe has not yet resumed flights to South Africa a week after suspending operations to that country fearing that a creditor may impound its aircraft over unpaid bills.

Innocent Mavhunga, the airline’s general manager told Studio 7 Monday that the airline will resume flights anytime soon though indications are that it has failed to reach a debt payment agreement with its creditor, Bid Air Services.

The South African ground handling firm has threatened to seize Air Zimbabwe planes over a US$500,000 debt. The company grounded an Air Zimbabwe aircraft three weeks ago and released it after negotiating terms of payment with the national airline.

In another embarrassing incident, one of the airline's Boeing 767 200 aircraft was seized in London two weeks ago by an American aviation company over a US$1.5 million debt and released last Tuesday when it settled the bill. The plane was then crippled by technical problems and lack of spares, only managing to fly home on Saturday.

Mavhunga said all is being done to ensure that Air Zimbabwe becomes viable. "Shareholders are working on the privatization of the national airline and we hope this will be done diligently," said Mavhunga.

Economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said government should now push for the privatization of the airline which has become a national embarrassment.

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