Zimbabwe airline plane briefly impounded over debt

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 5:45 AM
Zimbabwe airline plane briefly impounded over debt

Zimbabwe's airline says some flights to neighboring South Africa won't take off because of a dispute over debts owed to ground handlers who briefly impounded an aircraft at Johannesburg's main airport.

Air Zimbabwe head Innocent Mavhunga on Tuesday described the incident at the Johannesburg airport as "another operational challenge."

Witnesses said a ground handling firm blocked the Boeing 737-500 aircraft with vehicles on Friday to demand unpaid debts of nearly $500,000. They said it took seven hours to take baggage to the terminal in private cars after many passengers walked across the airport.

Once-daily flights to Johannesburg are scheduled for Friday and Sunday

Long haul flights to Europe and Asia were canceled last week by shortages of gasoline.