ACSA confirms Air Zim flights suspended over debt – but won’t say how much

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Airports Company South Africa suspended Air Zimbabwe from using its airports with effect from Tuesday October 22, 2019 over unpaid debt, it confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

The amount due by Air Zimbabwe was, however, not disclosed to maintain client confidentiality.

“As a cash client, Air Zimbabwe is required to settle on each Monday the amounts owing for landing fees, parking fees and the passenger service charge for its weekly flights, as well as an amount towards settling arrears on its account,” ACSA said.

“Air Zimbabwe has not adhered to the cash basis terms for using airports owned by ACSA.”

ACSA says it informed Air Zimbabwe in writing last Friday that it would not be allowed to depart from any of ACSA’s nine airports and that the prohibition would remain in place until outstanding amounts are settled.

‘Regret it’s necessary’

“ACSA regrets that this decision became necessary. The suspension of an airline takes place only after considerable engagement with an airline’s management,” Acsa said.

“ACSA regrets the inconvenience to Air Zimbabwe passengers. However, as a well-run and profitable state-owned company, we are obliged to ensure that airlines and other business partners settle any outstanding accounts.”

This is consistent with ACSA’s approach to all airlines generally.

In July this year the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that Zimbabwe owed airlines about $196m in funds “stuck” in the country due to a shortage of hard currency.

Foreign currency is needed to transfer the proceeds of local ticket sales to airlines.

Fin24 reported in September that Zimbabwe’s foreign currency inflows fell 24% to US$2.58bn for the six months to June 2019.