Zim air travel puzzle as tower controllers reportedly down tools

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE media was Tuesday awash with reports Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) tower controllers had gone on strike, something that reportedly disrupted normal flight schedules at the country’s main Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

Authorities were quick to dismiss the social media reports, with the situation reportedly normal at the country’s airports.

Reports said a go-slow strike by air traffic controllers caused travelling chaos with planes unable to take-off or land at Zimbabwean airports.

The situation reportedly affected a South African Airlink plane which landed at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo at 7.45AM and was due to turn back at 8.05AM but did not take off for almost another two hours.

It was further reported via online media that Air Zimbabwe’s only aircraft servicing domestic and regional routes took off from the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare as scheduled for its morning service to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

The Boeing 767 200-ER, due to return to Harare to pick up passengers to Johannesburg, was forced to sit on the tarmac in Victoria Falls for nearly two hours from 8.30AM as negotiations with the air traffic controllers continued.

But state media was soon to report that it was “business as usual” at the RGM International airport with “scheduled flights departing and landing in spite of fake news on social media claiming Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) workers are on strike”.

CAAZ, according to State media, has since dismissed the rumours in a tweet on their official handle.

“Our attention has been drawn to some reports circulating on various media platforms this morning. Our airspace is open and flights are operating as normal,” read a CAAZ tweet.