Zimbabwean national carrier Air Zimbabwe (UM) has been suspended from IATA for failing to comply with the Association's stringent Operational Safety Audits (IOSA) despite having been given a 90 day grace period. According to Zimbabwean Minister for Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development, Nicholas Goche, the letter the airline received from IATA was "not that bad" and that UM had "been encouraged" to comply with global safety standards.
The airline has now been given until the end of November to comply with the IOSA failing which, it will be banned from using international airports and other country's air spaces forever.
Goche gave a shockingly naive response when taken to task over UM's failure to make the original September 30 deadline saying:
Nicholas Goche (NewZimbabwe)“Air Zimbabwe is at the moment suspended from IATA. However, the national airline was given up to November 31 (sic) to carry out the audits. The letter we received is not that bad as they were encouraging us to comply with global safety standards and this we are going to do,” he said.
Minister Goche was optimistic the national airline would have put everything in place for the audit before the new deadline.
“Part of the salaries is being paid and staff is back at work and they are now moving at a faster pace. We hope everything will be in place for the re-audit at the end of November,” he said."
Last week, the Zimbabwean Government mouthpiece, ZBC, allured to Air Zimbabwe having paid off its debts in South Africa, with flights to Johannesburg alleged to be resuming in the near future, but with this new development, it seems this ambitious plan may have to be put on hold.