ZIM BARS SAA AND BA | The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe has barred all South African Airways and British Airways aircraft from landing in the country over non-renewal of operating licences.
Yesterday, CAAZ grounded SAA Flight SA025 at Harare International Airport, while the British airliner was turned away from Victoria Falls International Airport. Passengers on the Vic Falls flight disembarked in Livingstone, Zambia, and then crossed into Zimbabwe by road.
The South Africa Civil Aviation Authority had on Friday grounded an Air Zimbabwe Johannesburg-Harare flight at OR Tambo International Airport.
Reports from South Africa yesterday indicated that passengers scheduled to travel to Harare were stranded at OR Tambo International Airport.
Zimbabwe’s Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, said the two countries’ aviation authorities were working to resolve the impasse.
“It’s just an issue of compliance; nothing much. The aviation authorities of both countries relaxed with regards to operating licences which then expired,” he said.
“However, the issue was worsened by the weekend which has meant most offices being closed. I have been engaging my South African counterpart to resolve the matter.
“Regarding British Airways, I have not been briefed; but if their aircraft has not been licensed, it will not be allowed to land in the country.”
CAAZ general manager Mr David Chaota added: “Operating licences vary from one country to another. They are usually reciprocal, though. In this instance, Air Zimbabwe’s operating licence with South Africa was being renewed annually and vice-versa.
“South African Airways and British Airways not landing here is true. However, I assure the people of Zimbabwe that it’s an operational issue; nothing
“The same applies to the Air Zimbabwe case in South Africa. We are not landing there for now because of compliance issues. The ball is in the aviation authorities’ courts. They should decide when the licences can be renewed. We expect something tangible by Monday.”
Mr Chaota said other airlines like Air Link of South Africa were landing in Zimbabwe.