Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Air Zimbabwe facing suspension over debt

Zimbabwe’s troubled airline faces the prospect of being suspended from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) over past due membership fees that have risen to US$4 million.

Air Zimbabwe could be suspended from the IATA meaning the international authority will stop clearing goods and honoring fares for onward flights for Air Zimbabwe passengers. Sources say the airline has to make at least a partial payment by the end of the week or face suspension.

Jonathan Kadzura

Strangely Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura denied that the carrier owes money to the IATA. He told the Studio 7 Voice of America service that the long-troubled airline intends to pay the IATA a deposit of more than US$2 million. He also said they had already requested Treasury to bail them out.

Sources who spoke to VOA however said the government has already refused to bail out the airline citing its own financial constraints. Economic commentators have long argued that the airline just like many other parastatals bleeding the fiscus every year should be privatized.

Last month we reported how Air Zimbabwe pilots threatened to go on strike if their work conditions and salaries were not improved as a matter of urgency. The pilots are said to have written a letter to the airline management demanding a review of their salaries and over the border allowances which are believed to be among the lowest in the fledging airline industry.