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Air Zimbabwe, SAA tiff resolved

Zimbabwe yesterday cleared all South African Airways (SAA) and British Airways (BA) flights that sought to land in the country following fruitful engagement among the concerned aviation authorities, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo has said.

On the other hand, Air Zimbabwe's morning flight to South Africa was also cleared. These developments followed an earlier tiff on operating licences, which had expired resulting in the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) barring all SAA planes from landing in Zimbabwe on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, CAAZ grounded an SAA flight SA025 at Harare International Airport in retaliation to the Friday incident where South African authorities had also grounded an Airzim flight at Oliver Tambo International Airport, leaving passengers stranded.

Similarly, a BA aircraft was denied clearance to land at Victoria Falls International Airport, forcing the aircraft to land in Livingstone, Zambia.

Dr Gumbo said although authorities were still sorting out the necessary paper work, they have resumed clearance of flights on all sides.

"In the morning (yesterday) we cleared two South African Airways flights and two British Airways flights. An Air Zimbabwe flight to Johannesburg was also cleared in the morning so we want to believe that the impasse has been resolved. At the same time, authorities are doing what they were supposed to have done and we do not expect that process to take very long," said Dr Gumbo.

CAAZ general manager Mr David Chaota also confirmed the latest development, saying flights commenced landing yesterday.

"Since morning all flights were being cleared," said Mr Chaota.

Questioned on licence renewals, Mr Chaota said it was not an overnight process since there were applications and approvals involved.

"We are still working on those, but the good thing is that flights have resumed normal services," he said.

This impasse had not affected other airlines like Air Link of South Africa from landing in Zimbabwe.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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