Air Zimbabwe Suspends London Flights

It fears its planes will be seized

By Reuters on 19 November 2006 in News

National carrier Air Zimbabwe has suspended flights to Britain fearing its planes will be seized by a European navigation agency over a USD$2.8 million debt, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.

The southern African nation is in its 8th year of recession, marked by the world's highest inflation rate, 70 percent unemployment and chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency that has left state companies struggling to repay debt.

The official Herald newspaper said the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation won a court order empowering it to impound the national airline's planes to recover a debt accrued over the past four years.

Airzim chairman Mike Bimha had confirmed the cancellation of flights to London, saying the airline's lawyers and those of the agency were in talks to find an amicable solution, it said.

"As a security measure, our lawyers have advised us to suspend flights pending the discussions," Bimha said. "In the meantime, alternative travel arrangements for our passengers are being sorted out. We are in constant contact with them.

The daily said the flights to London, capital of Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain, were the airline's cash cow.


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