The United States embassy in Zimbabwean capital Harare has reportedly barred its citizens and staff from traveling on the southern African country’s troubled national airline, Air Zimbabwe, citing safety concerns.
According to NewsDay, the US embassy spokesperson David McGuire said in a statement that the prohibition order was with immediate effect.
He, however, said that the ban would be lifted as soon as all issues had been addressed according to international standards.
“We stand ready to work with Air Zimbabwe and Caaz [Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe] in any way as they address the issues raised. US embassy Harare will lift the restriction when all issues have been verifiably addressed according to international standards,” McGuire was quoted as saying.
Reports last month indicated that the European Commission had barred Air Zimbabwe from flying to Europe over safety concerns.
The European Commission maintains an Air Safety List of airlines that they say don’t meet international safety standards and are barred from operating in the European Union.
The commission named Air Zimbabwe – regularly used by President Robert Mugabe on his overseas trips – as one of four airlines added to the list “due to unaddressed safety deficiencies that were detected by the European Safety Agency”.
All five of Air Zimbabwe’s planes were grounded in April, according to Zimbabwe Independent. It was not clear whether all five are now back in the skies.
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