By Staff Reporter & Agencies
HARARE: 38 Air Namibia passengers were left stranded in Harare Friday morning after the aircraft they were scheduled to travel in was impounded by Zimbabwean officials.
Air Namibia confirmed that one of the aircraft it was leasing from West Air was impounded in Harare as a result of a pending court case brought by four Zimbabwean nationals against Air Namibia.
“By law, leased equipment is not subject to attachment,” Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa said.
The aircraft was later released, and the passengers flown to Namibia Saturday morning.
Nakawa added that the passengers were provided with accommodation and food.
However, this some passengers had made their own accommodation arrangements as they were not informed of Air Namibia’s arrangements.
“Air Namibia is busy engaging a Lawyer in Zimbabwe to attend to the matter and to advise the airline further, as well as addressing the issue of attaching or not attaching a leased equipment,” Nakawa said.
The airline is being sued for UD$1 million by a Zimbabwean family.
Chenjerai Mawumba, his wife Juliana Magombedze and their three minor children, say they were denied access to travel to Turkey by the Namibian airline’s officials.
According to the court papers, after procuring travel insurance policy, Mawumba said he made reservations for three rooms at Sheraton Istanbul Atakoy Hotel in Turkey for six nights after which on February 15, 2017 he purchased five economy class tickets for air carriage by Air Namibia to Istanbul.
On the same date, Mawumba said he together with his family boarded Air Namibia at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare bound for Windhoek in Namibia where they intended to catch another Air Namibia flight that would eventually take them to Turkey through Frankfurt, Germany.
However, upon arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Mawumba said his family expected to be transferred to another flight, but was advised by Air Namibia officials that they were not permitted to travel to Turkey because of their Zimbabwean nationality.
Mawumba further said his family was detained at the airport for close to three days without being offered food and accommodation adding “we endured the most horrifying time of our lives without the slightest access to basic amenities.”