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Trouble as South Africa bans Air Zimbabwe over debts

Air Zimbabwe has been barred from operating from South African airports owing to failure to pay debts relating to aeronautical charges.

Johannesburg features on the airline's advertised network but Airports Company South Africa says it has "suspended" the airline from its nine airports effective 22 October.

It says the carrier is required to settle weekly the debts owed for landing charges, parking and passenger fees along with a partial payment of arrears.

The airport's operator says it informed Air Zimbabwe on 18 October that it was facing the restriction on its services and that this would remain in place until outstanding payments were received.

It states that the airline has been told it "will not be allowed to depart" from the airports. The airport's operator has not specified whether this means Air Zimbabwe aircraft are effectively stranded in South Africa.

But it says the decision "became necessary", adding: "Suspension of an airline takes place only after considerable engagement with an airline’s management."

It has not disclosed the size of the debts owed by the Zimbabwean carrier.