South Africa Grounds Air Zimbabwe Over Debts

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South Africa has stopped Zimbabwe’s national airline from using its airports over unpaid fees, the country’s airport management company said Thursday.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been in tatters since former president Robert Mugabe led a devastating land reform policy that sent inflation spiralling and led to crippling shortages of food, fuel and medicines.

The state-owned Air Zimbabwe has laid off hundreds of staff over the past two years.

Its one serviceable plane was banned earlier this week from flying into Johannesburg — South Africa’s largest city and Air Zimbabwe’s only international destination — after failing to pay its airport fees.

“Air Zimbabwe has not adhered to the cash basis terms for using airports owned by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA),” said the airport manager in a statement on Thursday.

The company said Air Zimbabwe had been informed last week that it would no longer be allowed to take off from any of ACSA’s nine airports.

“The prohibition will remain in place until outstanding amounts are settled,” added ACSA

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