Air Zim suspends all flights

By Drum Digital
24 February 2012

Zimbabwe's national airline has suspended all its flights indefinitely, after the latest revival effort collapsed this week, the firm's chief executive said on Friday.

"I can confirm all flights are suspended. We are grounded indefinitely," Air Zimbabwe chief executive Innocent Mavhunga told AFP.

The airline had hoped to return to the skies to this week, after its pilots walked off the job last year, saying their wages had not been paid.

Air Zimbabwe had hoped to convince the pilots to return to work this week so that at least minimal service could be restored.

"Pilots did not come to commmence operations. We are waiting for the government which is our major shareholder to intervene. Our issue is in the domain of cabinet. We are just waiting for their intervention," Mavhunga said.

The carrier has been rocked by problems in recent years including frequent strikes by its pilots and mounting debts as it struggles to maintain an ageing fleet.

One of its planes was impounded in London for more than two weeks last year over a $1.2 million debt dispute with a

US spares company, prompting the airline to suspend flights to neighbouring South Africa over another debt of $500,000 fearing creditors might impound more of its planes.

But even domestic flights have operated erratically, as the struggling carrier battles against debts reported in December at $140 million.

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