IATA threatens to suspend Air Zim

HARARE - Air Zimbabwe faces suspension from the International Air Travel Association over a US$15 million debt that has been accumulating for about four years.
This move comes barely two months after it was forced to suspend its lucrative London route over a US$2,8 million debt it owed the Europe

an Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation, which had considered confiscating its planes
The Zimbabwean this week saw internal documents for management at the beleaguered airline revealing that there was growing concern over repeated warnings by IATA over the US$15 million.
“We have to do something about the debt to IATA because there are real dangers we could be suspended,” one of the documents states. “IATA has issued the last warning and we must at least make some payment before things get out of hand. Suspension has dire consequences.”
A highly-placed source who supplied copies of the document said the board had submitted a request to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for at least US$7,5 million. However, the source added, the response from RBZ governor, Gideon Gono had not been pleasing.
“Gono promised to try and do something following what we understand to be a directive from Mugabe’s office to attend to the matter. But he made it clear the RBZ was hard-pressed on foreign currency reserves and under pressure from a lot of serious commitments the government wanted attended to,” the source said.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, David Mwenga admitted the national airline had outstanding debts but declined to discuss further.
It also emerged this week that workers at the airline are back to the battle front with management over remunerations, a scenario likely to lead to a halt in operations within the coming weeks. “We are demanding a 300% increase but it appears there is going to be a serious impasse because it is reported that management wants to offer us s silly percentage increase of as low as 30%,” a member of the workers committee said.
A victim of Zanu (PF)’s abuse over the years, Air Zimbabwe has been struggling to achieve viability over the years despite having been one of the best airlines in Africa at Independence in 1980. – Own correspondent

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