The crisis at Air Zimbabwe is set to worsen on Wednesday with threats by Zambezi Airlines to withdraw its aircraft leased to the beleaguered parastatal unless it paid $460 000 owed to the Zambian firm, NewsDay can reveal.
Sources told NewsDay on Tuesday night that Zambezi Airlines was likely to withdraw the aircraft it is leasing to Air Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
“Zambezi Airlines have given us up to Wednesday (today) to pay the $460 000 instalment which we were supposed to have paid on June 15. They had threatened to withdraw their aircraft on Monday but they have since given us up to Wednesday (today) to sort ourselves out,” said the source who requested anonymity.
Contacted for comment on Tuesday, Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive Innocent Mavhunga only said the airline had numerous problems which they were trying to address and that he was presently in meetings and as such could not comment.
The national airline is leasing an aircraft from Zambezi Airlines to service regional routes after its fleet of Boeing 737s was condemned by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe early this year.
Air Zimbabwe is reeling under a heavy debt and last week, local suppliers of A1 Jet reportedly stopped supplying them with fuel, because the airline had failed to service its $1,6 million debt.
The airline had to cancel flights because of that. Pilots are also reportedly threatening to down tools over a salary dispute while the National Social Security Authority plans to attach Air Zimbabwe properties over unremitted workers’ pension contributions.
Air Zimbabwe is reportedly saddled with a $100 million debt.