The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) has impounded an aircraft owned by Air Zimbabwe over debt.
Insiders at Air Zimbabwe told TimesLIVE that one of the national airline’s aircraft, a Boeing 767-200, was impounded at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.
This comes as Air Zimbabwe was suspended from using the airport due to non-payment of debt.
Air Zimbabwe owes Acsa payments for landing, parking and passenger service fees for flights into Johannesburg.
As a result of the suspension by Acsa, Air Zimbabwe could not operate its Johannesburg-Harare flight on Wednesday and this resulted in some passengers failing to travel while others were accommodated on other airlines.
The seizure of Air Zimbabwe’s aircraft in South Africa, which is the airline’s only operational aircraft after all of its planes were grounded, forced it to cancel its Harare-Johannesburg flight on Thursday, including its domestic flights between Harare-Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Tafadzwa Mazonde confirmed the seizure of the aircraft and stated that airline officials were engaging Acsa to release the aircraft.
“That’s what is happening. It’s a temporary suspension over a cumulative debt. We are in discussion with our shareholder and we are hopeful that we will find a solution,” said Mazonde.
Apart from Acsa, Air Zimbabwe has over the years had aircraft seized by creditors — including Bid Air Services in South Africa and American General Suppliers in London — for debts which it had neglected to pay.
The seizure of the aircraft is a new low for the airline which has over the years broken records, including flying with only one passenger, as it struggles to restore customer confidence after successive years of mismanagement. – The Sowetan