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Air Zimbabwe Crisis Worsens as Employees Stage Protests Over Pay

  • Gibbs Dube

The national airline recently grounded flights to London and South Africa fearing its aircraft may be impounded by creditors following the seizure of one of its planes in Britain by American General Supplies over a $1.5 million debt.

The drama at Zimbabwe’s troubled national airline escalated Friday with more than 100 employees staging street protests demanding payment of outstanding allowances and salaries amounting to nearly $6 million.

Air Zimbabwe Chairman Jonathan Kadzura said the airline did not have funds to pay the disgtuntled workers their dues.

The national airline recently grounded flights to London and South Africa fearing its aircraft may be impounded by creditors following the seizure of one of its planes in Britain by American General Supplies over a $1.5 million debt.

Local flights have also been suspended as the sole plane servicing the Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria falls route recently developed technical problems. Sources said there was no solution in sight for the beleagured national flagship.

Kadzura told VOA the airline is still waiting for a state bailout though the Ministry of Transport has ignored recommendations by a Cabinet committee for government to ring-fence the airline’s $140 million debt and privatize it.

State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo said Air Zimbabwe has become a national disgrace, adding the only solution is to privatize the company.

Economic analyst Masimba Kuchera commented that the job action by airline workers shows there is now a great need to look for partners to rescure the company.

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