A U.S. aviation firm on Monday impounded one of Air Zimbabwe’s international commercial aircraft in London for non-payment of a US$1.2 million debt.
Airline Chairman Jonathan Kadzura said the Boeing 767-200 was seized by American General Supplies when it landed at Gatwick International Airport en route from Harare.
Kadzura said the state carrier is looking for funds to pay off the debt before the aircraft is auctioned by the U.S. company, which supplied Air Zimbabwe with spare parts and other gear.
The seizure follows the impounding of an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737-500 by South Africa’s Bid Air Services two weeks ago over a US$500,000 debt for ground services.
Kadzura said Finance Minister Tendi Biti is to blame for Air Zimbabwe’s financial woes.
"All government portfolios in the hands of ZANU-PF ministers are being deliberately underfunded by Biti and this is why our national airline is failing to pay its debts," he said.
But independent economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said ZANU-PF crippled the national airline before the formation of the unity government.
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party does not want government to relinquish control of the carrier which is saddled with debts estimated to be more than US$100 million.
Air Zimbabwe is among 10 state enterprises that the government has earmarked for privatization, though little progress has been made since 2009.