Fuel shortage grounds Zimbabwe's national airline

Zimbabwe's national airline has grounded its fleet for lack of fuel.

Air Zimbabwe's international flights to Johannesburg, London, Singapore, Entebbe, Lilongwe and Lusaka were suspended on Monday and domestic flights to second city Bulawayo and Victoria Falls were cancelled a few hours later.

Hundreds of passengers were affected and calls to Air Zimbabwe at the Harare airport went largely unanswered late on Monday.

The vice-chairman of the Air Zimbabwe board, Jonathan Kadzura, issued a brief statement apologising to customers and pledging "full commitment to address the critical operational issues affecting service delivery for the national airline".

Furious passengers in both the domestic and international sections of the airport were unable to find out whether they would be accommodated on other airlines for foreign destinations, or whether Air Zimbabwe would resume operations.

Earlier this year Air Zimbabwe introduced flights to Dubai, Singapore and China as part of President Robert Mugabe's new Look East policy. One flight to Dubai attracted just one passenger on a 200-seat aircraft.

Top executives and board members are regularly sacked from Air Zimbabwe, accused of incompetence and corruption.

Several years ago Zimbabwe's small freight carrier, Affretair, was grounded and then closed, South Africa's Independent reports.


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