Wednesday, September 19, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Air Zimbabwe's debts in South Africa allegedly paid off with flights to Johannesburg to resume in coming weeks.

Air ZimbabweFollowing on from our previous report on the topic, the Zimbabwean Government has paid off ailing national carrier Air Zimbabwe's (UM) outstanding debts in South Africa with the airline now said to be resuming flights to Johannesburg "in the next few weeks", though this has yet to be corroborated by independent sources.

In December of last year, aviation ground & baggage handling service BidAir seized an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737 at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport over USD500'000 worth of unpaid bills. Since then, the airline has been forced to operate an exclusively domestic route network, for fear of further attachments of its aircraft as the airline is said to be straddled with a debt of over USD140million owed to foreign creditors and local Air Zimbabwe staff.

Air Zimbabwe A320 Airbus
Air Zimbabwe's A320 in Harare

With two Airbus A320s on the ground and allegedly painted in UM's livery,  we wait with baited breath to see what UM's next move will be.

Meanwhile, the article, carried by the government mouthpiece ZBC, also touched on new LCC FreshAir's intended route launch between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg stating that operations would "begin soon" but that various paperwork and bureaucratic formalities still had to be completed.

On FreshAir's imminent route launch, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe's General Manager, David Chaota, said:
"The airline (FreshAir) is currently working on regulatory issues, International Air Transport Association regulations as well as other issues that involve government to government agreements before they can give a specific date on which they will commence their operations."
Source [ZBC]