Sunday, December 25, 2011

Air Zimbabwe plane flies home after debt paid: official

HARARE, December 25 – An Air Zimbabwe plane impounded in London for more than two weeks over a debt dispute flew home on Sunday after the national carrier settled $1.2 million owed to a US spares company, the airline’s acting chief executive said.

“Yes, the plane arrived this morning from the UK and we are grateful,” Innocent Mavhunga told AFP.

American General Supplies seized Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 767-200 at Gatwick over unpaid fees of $1.2 million resulting in the airline cancelling the flight and reimbursing stranded passengers.

The airline has also suspended flights to neighboring South Africa over a debt of $500,000 fearing creditors might impound more of its planes.

The airline, already struggling to pay its workforce and facing mounting fuel shortages, needs about $40 million to clear some of its debts, Mavhunga said earlier this month.

The airline says its financial difficulties are a result of the international sanctions targeting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s regime.

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