PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his delegation found themselves with a few extra days in the Big Apple after a chartered Air Zimbabwe plane sent to pick them up burst its tyres when landing in New York.
The Zimbabwean leader — along with scores of his allies — are banned from travelling to Western capitals after they were slapped with sanctions by the US and European Union over allegations of rights abuses and electoral fraud.
He left the country on September 17 to attend the 66th session of the UNÂ General Assembly but was forced to put off his return home after the Air Zimbabwe plane burst four rear tyres when landing at an airport in New York.
Air Zimbabwe board Chairman, Jonathan Kadzura, confirmed mishap in an interview with The Standard but refused to give further details.
â€œItâ€™s nothing serious, itâ€™s not as magnified as you want it to sound,â€� Kadzura told the newspaper. â€œThe planeâ€™s tyres got punctured on landing and we are working on replacing them.
The national airline resumed local and international flights last week after a strike by pilots that grounded its planes for almost two months.
Government gave the cash strapped airline US$2.8 million as it sought to end the job boycott that has crippled the countryâ€™s tourism industry.