HomeLocal NewsAirZim plane impounded in London

AirZim plane impounded in London

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Zimbabwe’s debt-ridden national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, plunged into deeper crisis after its Boeing 767 was reportedly impounded on landing at Gatwick Airport in London yesterday morning over a $1,2 million debt.

This comes hardly a week after another Air Zimbabwe plane — a Boeing 737-500 — was briefly detained at OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa under similar circumstances.

“Our aircraft has just been attached on arrival in London by American General Supplies for a debt of $1,2 million which they want settled in full plus costs,” said a highly-placed source.

Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga said he was still to verify the issue.

“I am in an emergency meeting, but I do not have that information verified as yet,” said Mavhunga.

Last week, Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 737-500, one of the airline’s short-haul planes, was impounded at OR Tambo International Airport just after landing from Harare.

The plane, the only operational aircraft for Air Zimbabwe after all of its planes were grounded last week, was scheduled to return to Harare and pick up passengers flying to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

However, officials from Bid Air Services detained the plane and parked a lorry behind the aircraft to block it from leaving.

Bid Air demanded payment of R500 000 for ground-handling services, which Air Zimbabwe had failed to pay.

The airplane was later released and returned to Harare after Air Zimbabwe pledged to settle the debt soon.

As a result, the airline has temporarily suspended flights to Johannesburg to avoid the plane being impounded again.

“Yes, we have temporarily suspended the Johannesburg flights because of the debts that we owe, so we are in the process of negotiating to come up with a solution,” said Mavhunga.

The Boeing 737-500 is now plying domestic routes. Mavhunga said this was a sad development as Air Zimbabwe was hoping to cash in on the busy festive season.

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