SW Radio Africa (London)

27 September 2012

Zimbabwe: IATA Suspends Air Zimbabwe Over Poor Safety Record

Zimbabwe's national airline has been suspended from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) after failing to comply with global safety standards.

The suspension was confirmed by the Transport and Communications Minister Nicholas Goche, who said Air Zimbabwe had been given until November 31 to comply with IATA's international standards.

IATA is a global aviation body that works with airline members and the air transport industry to promote safe, reliable and secure air travel. They conduct Biennial Operational Safety Audits, assessing an airline's operations, flights, boarding procedures and other aircraft safety issues.

In June, Air Zim was given 90 days to renew its Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) or lose its membership. A statement from IATA said that compliance with the biennial safety audit was mandatory if Air Zim wanted to retain their membership. But the airline has failed to meet IATA standards, prompting the suspension.

Air Zim is reportedly in debt to the tune of US$140 million. Last year one of their aircraft was impounded by creditors at Gatwick Airport, after failing to pay an American parts company.

In March this year Air Zimbabwe was disbanded, following crippling strikes by the staff and massive debts which led to the seizure of an aircraft in London. Transport Minister Nicholas Goche immediately announced a 'rebranding', with the company becoming Air Zimbabwe Private Limited.

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