Air Zim aborts flight to Joburg - report

2017-07-11 13:58

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Harare - Air Zimbabwe had to abort a flight to Johannesburg on Monday after one of its Boeings suffered a loss of cabin pressure, reports said.

Pictures shared on social media on Monday showed yellow gas masks dangling from the cabin roof.

"There was loss of cabin pressure on the plane and the system functioned well to release the gas masks from overhead," an aviation source told the private NewsDay

"The pilot reduced height and was able to turn back and safely land at Joshua Nkomo International airport (in Bulawayo)," the source added.

The plane, identified as a Boeing 737-200, does not appear to have had many passengers on board. It is one of just four planes the struggling airline is down to.

No injuries

There were no reports of injuries and passengers caught a later flight to Johannesburg via Victoria Falls.

There has been no official comment on the incident.

Air Zimbabwe is struggling to stay afloat under a debt of more than $300 million. Unconfirmed reports say the government is working on a deal to re-brand the company and lease planes from Malaysia.

Britain and the US have banned their employees and diplomatic staff from using the airline after the European Commission in May barred Air Zimbabwe from flying to Europe over safety concerns. 

'Best pilots'

The airline hasn’t flown to Europe for years, though there were plans to reintroduce the popular Harare-London route soon.

Twitter responded to Monday's mishap. A.T. Magodhlo suggested the plane was past its use-by date. "Manufactured in 70s it's very normal of its model and age. Not safe it reached its scrap value in 2000," he commented.

Wrote @dambudzo80: "Why on earth would one entrust their life with AirZim!"

But journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu responded: "Because generally they're great. Best pilots too."

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  sa  |  southern africa  |  air travel

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