Grounded Air Zimbabwe resumes flights

Zimbabwe’s financially troubled national airline has resumed flights after the company’s entire fleet was temporarily grounded due to lack of fuel, state radio reported on Tuesday.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at Harare International airport on Monday after Air Zimbabwe cancelled all local and international flights due to a shortage of Jet A1 fuel, the official Herald newspaper said.

In an interview with state radio on Tuesday, the airline’s vice-president, Jonathan Kadzura, said authorities were working to normalise the situation at the beleaguered airline.

“We got into a situation where fuel was simply not available,” he said. “We know that the immediate thing to be done is to ensure that the airlines get sufficient fuel, which we are moving to normalise.

“We can assure our travelling public that the position in Zimbabwe will change and flights will be maintained and flights will take off on time, with no disruptions whatsoever,” Kadzura added.

A reservations clerk with Air Zimbabwe said flights “are normal now. We resumed flying yesterday [Monday].”

Zimbabwe has been dogged by erratic fuel supplies for the past six years, but the shortages became acute starting last March. The country does not have the hard currency needed to pay for fuel and other imports, such as medicines and electrical power.

Air Zimbabwe has also been struggling to maintain its small fleet of Boeing aircraft. Several flights were cancelled in July, partly because of a lack of spare parts for the planes.—Sapa-DPA

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