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Air Zimbabwe banned from South Africa for failing to pay fees

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

Zimbabwe's economy has been in tatters since former president Robert Mugabe lead 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.

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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.

Air Zimbabwe was not immediately available for comment.

The airline was required to pay ACSA cash once a week to cover landing fees, parking and passenger service charges for its weekly flight into Johannesburg, according to the statement.

It's only other route is an internal connection between Zimbabwe's capital Harare, the southwestern city of Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.


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