Zimbabwe’s state airline grounded its entire fleet yesterday after running out of aviation fuel.
For the first time in its 25-year history, Air Zimbabwe cancelled flights to every destination. All seven of its aircraft sat on the apron at Harare airport “until further notice”. Hundreds of angry passengers thronged the check-in desks at Harare, although some flights did resume after more than 24 hours on the ground.
“The board would like to sincerely apologise to all its valued customers for the inconveniences,” said Jonathan Kadzura, the airline’s vice-chairman.
Zimbabwe’s spiralling economic crisis means that the country has no foreign exchange to buy essential imports. Fuel shortages have been acute for five years. The airline has been ruined by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry and interference from President Robert Mugabe’s regime. It began flying to Beijing, Singapore and Dubai to keep in line with his “Look East” policy of shunning the western world.