Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Air Zimbabwe suspends flights indefinitely

By Takunda Maodza

AIR ZIMBABWE, which failed to resume domestic flights this week, has now suspended all flights indefinitely. This was after workers vowed not to report for duty until they are given their outstanding salaries.

Air Zimbabwe is saddled with huge domestic and external debts, which have paralysed its operations
Air Zimbabwe is saddled with huge domestic and external debts, which have paralysed its operations

The workers have not received salaries since July last year and are owed over US$35 million. Airzim is facing serious cash flow problems and previous efforts by Government to revive its fortunes failed.

Airzim acting chief executive officer, Mr Innocent Mavhunga, yesterday confirmed the indefinite suspension of all flights blaming it on cash flow problems.

“We failed to resume flights as planned on Monday as we still have challenges relating to payment of salaries. Part of our workers did not report for duty. We are now grounded indefinitely,” Mr Mavhunga said.

He said Government in its capacity as the shareholder was frantically looking for money to pay workers so that they resume work. But yesterday workers blamed management for failing to prepare for the resumption of flights.

“We were not officially informed about the resumption of flights on Monday. We only read about it in the newspapers,” said a member of the National Air Workers Union. The workers’ representative claimed management had only engaged pilots prior to the planned resumption of flights on Monday and excluded the rest of the workers.

“Primary preparation for the resumption of flights was not properly done by management. Passengers turned up but there was no staff and as a result planes failed to take off as planned,” said the Nawu source.

At least 27 passengers who intended to travel to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls were at the Harare International Airport on Monday after Air Zimbabwe had flighted advertisements in the media announcing that it was resuming flights.

The national airline shelved both domestic and international flights when one of its planes was impounded at Gatwick International Airport in London over a debt last year. The plane was only rescued after Government paid the US$1.2 million to parts suppliers, American General Suppliers.