Saturday, December 17, 2011

Zimbabwe: Joburg Flights Suspended and AirZim London Crisis Continues

Air Zimbabwe passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport since a plane was seized Monday went into a fifth day Friday without knowing when they would depart for Harare.

A passenger stranded at the airport told SW Radio Africa they had been shown proof of money transfers that were made on Thursday and Friday, covering the $1.5 million owed by the national airline to American General Supplies, who impounded the plane after getting a court order.

The passenger said Air Zim officials were now awaiting confirmation from the company that the funds had been received. "They say it will then take 7 hours before we can fly out once the plane has been released," the passenger explained.

But is not clear what day the Air Zim flight will depart, even if the funds are cleared on Friday.

To add to Air Zim's holiday woes, their flights to Johannesburg were reportedly suspended following claims that the management do not want to risk losing aircrafts to Bid Air Services, a grounds company demanding payment of a $500,000 debt.

It has been a week since Air Zimbabwe last flew to South Africa. According to reports, Air Zimbabwe Chairman Jonathan Kadzura said there would be no flights to Johannesburg until Bid Air Service has been paid.

In London stranded passengers have been given vouchers for hotel accommodation and food. But for many of the tourists heading to Zim, it is now too late to join the guided tours they booked for the holidays. The news that flights to Johannesburg are suspended added misery to more tourists who had hoped to travel during the holidays.

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