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Impounded Zimbabwe Aircraft Faces Auction As Airline Scrambles to Pay Debt

Government sources said the national airline is scrambling for cash and late Monday submitted a request to the treasury for funds to pay the debt to American General Supplies

The Zimbabwean government on Tuesday said it does not have funds to secure the release of an Air Zimbabwe aircraft impounded in London by an American aviation firm over a US$1.2 million debt.

Government sources said the national airline was scrambling for cash following the plane's seizure on Monday, and had submitted a request to the treasury for funds to settle the American General Supplies debt.

The treasury told the airline management it did not have the funds though cabinet was expected to take up the issue Tuesday. Air Zimbabwe Chairman Jonathan Kadzura was not available for comment.

Sources said the aircraft will be auctioned Wednesday if Zimbabwe failed to pay.

Parliamentary budget committee member Dorcas Sibanda said Harare should never use public funds to bail out struggling parastatals.

“Most of these failing state enterprises are run by former top army officers who lack the necessary business skills,” said Sibanda.

American General Supplies, which has been selling aircraft spares to Air Zimbabwe, obtained a court order empowering it to impound the plane to recover its debt.

As a result more than 200 passengers including tourists from Australia, Canada and other countries are stranded in London and Harare following the impounding of the Boeing 767-200.