IATA suspends Air Zimbabwe

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has suspended Zimbabwe’s embattled and debt-ridden national airline from international financial and flight booking services.

In a statement, the world aviation control body told travel agents to “immediately stop all ticketing and refund transactions” for Air Zimbabwe after the debt ridden airline failed to pay the debt which is for worldwide billing and ticketing fees.

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The airline still can fly using only its own facilities, but will suffer a sharp drop in bookings by passengers who are not Zimbabwean nationals.

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Air Zimbabwe’s general manager for Europe David Mwenga said Sunday that the bulk of the debt to IATA was incurred during a month-long strike by pilots last month.

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He said Air Zimbabwe had to rebook its passengers on other airlines at higher fares, and the national carrier had to remit the short-fall to IATA for onward transmission.

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However, the national carrier says it has since engaged IATA to negotiate a payment plan.

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“We have been engaged in discussions with IATA since last week, and we are very keen to get this resolved,” Mwenga said, revealing that more than 50 percent of their customers booked through travel agents.

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“You can expect a resolution as early as Monday.”

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