AN Air Zimbabwe plane that has been holed in London after a US company threatened to auction it over a US$1,2 million debt is now expected in the country on Tuesday.
On Monday, General American Supplies impounded Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 767-200 at Gatwick International Airport and threatened to auction it to recover money owed by the troubled airline.
Government intervened to save the plane from going under the hammer. Innocent Mavhunga, the airline’s acting group CEO told The Standard the plane would now leave London tomorrow evening and arrive on Tuesday.
He said the airline had paid the US$1,2 million debt plus the legal fees. Mavhunga said that flights to South Africa would resume any day this week. “We hope to have resolved the matter between Monday and Tuesday,” he said adding that the parent ministry continues sourcing funding for the airline.
Last week, Air Zimbabwe suspended flights to South Africa fearing that creditors would pounce on the airline once it landed at OR Tambo International Airport.
The troubled airline has debts of over US$100 million which it has failed to service owing to low revenue streams and antiquated equipment which has increased the cost of running the business.
Analysts say government has to move out of the airline to stop the financial haemorrhage but are unanimous that doing so now would mean the airline would be sold for a song.
Chinese airline, Hainan, has been linked to Air Zimbabwe but despite the suggestions and meetings with officials by President Robert Mugabe last month, nothing has moved along that front, with the airline further sinking in the abyss.
In the meantime, regional airlines like South African Airways, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines are feasting on the problems of Air Zimbabwe, getting the traffic to and from Zimbabwe on a silver platter.