State owned Air Zimbabwe is now under judicial management and faces liquidation after its debts shot to $140 million.
The application to place the national carrier under judicial control was made by the airline's employees on Friday, 20 January at the High Court in Harare.
Shepherd Chimutanda, a chartered accountant was immediately appointed judicial manager.
The order also barred the Air Zimbabwe board from involvement in the running of the company.
Workers sought the intervention of the courts after they went for more than a year without salaries. They are owed over $ 35 million in salaries dating back back to 2009.
It has since emerged that January 16, Air Zimbabwe's acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga wrote to President Robert Mugabe warning him of the gathering crisis. He pleaded for government assistance to keep the airline afloat.
"We wish to advise that the non-payment of salaries and other statutory obligations for the period in question has not been deliberate, but rather a manifestation of underlying viability challenges that our company has been experiencing where we have even suspended international and regional flights with domestic flights having become erratic," reads part of the letter signed by Mavhunga and dated January 16.
Last week, Air Zimbabwe took delivery of a second hand A320-200 Airbus plane from France, in a deal brokered in secrecy.
Caleb Mucheche, the workers' lawyer said his clients had not been paid their salaries since 2009.
"Since the court has appointed a judicial manager it means that this is a prelude to liquidation.
"The judicial manager will now move in and the current AirZim board will have to step aside," Mucheche told the local media.
Creditors, in December seized the company's planes in South Africa and the United Kingdom over unpaid debts.