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Air Zim refused ground handling services in SA
03/12/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Debt problems ... Air Zim refused ground services over debt
 
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AN Air Zimbabwe flight to Johannesburg was refused ground handling services at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday over unpaid debts resulting in passengers and their luggage being ferried by a private vehicle.

Up to 70 passengers on the morning flight from Harare had to be ferried by a private Mazda 5 vehicle resulting in further delays as the vehicle could only carry five people at a time.

The airline only managed to complete the passenger transfers by 12 mid-day when the plane had landed at 8 am.

“It was a bad experience, considering the car was small and it took too long for most people to be moved from the plane to the airport terminal. Some passengers were now becoming rowdy,” a passenger told the Daily News.

The airline is said to owe various services suppliers and had been struggling to service the debts.

Air Zim acting chief executive, Innocent Mavhunga confirmed the company’s failure to access ground services.

“The issue relates to challenges over non-payment and this has since been negotiated with the ground handlers,” he said.

“The amount owed has been outstanding and we have discussed a way forward,” the airline boss said.

Air Zim is currently saddled with a $137 million debt and records monthly losses of $3,5 million according to recent information availed to Parliament.

The airline's pilots and other staff have also gone on strike several times this year over unpaid salaries.


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