AN Air Zimbabwe plane has been grounded since Wednesday due to a mechanical fault, leaving passengers intending to travel between Harare and Bulawayo stranded.
Some passengers missed important meetings while others cancelled their programmes due to the problem.
A leased plane took passengers during the day yesterday on the Harare-Bulawayo and Victoria Falls routes, but last night passengers were left stranded again as there were no flights.
Air Zimbabwe Passenger and Cargo general manager Chris Kwenda yesterday confirmed the disruptions, saying a mechanical fault that was detected on the plane took longer than expected to be fixed.
“Air Zimbabwe wishes to apologise to all its valued customers for the schedule disruptions experienced on the 1st and 2nd of June, 2016, which were caused by a technical fault on the operating aircraft.
“Efforts to remedy the technical problem took longer than initially anticipated resulting in the cancellation of the Bulawayo evening flight on June 1, 2016, and rescheduling of today’s Bulawayo and Victoria Falls flights. As safety is our priority, we’ve since leased an aircraft to fill in the gap while our engineers are working to rectify the problem,” said Kwenda.
We’ve had to lease an aircraft from South Africa just to fulfill today’s schedule. I’m sure by the end of the day we would’ve managed to rectify the problem.”
Last night however, flights between Bulawayo and Harare were cancelled. Kwenda assured passengers that Air Zimbabwe would continue to adhere to international airline safety standards in its endeavour to offer its customers Zimbabwean hospitality in the skies.
The cancellation of the flights also affected a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) strategy validation workshop planned for yesterday in Bulawayo.
In a letter addressed to participants, organisers of the event said they were cancelling the workshop due to flight disruptions.
“I wish to inform our valued invited participants that the FMD strategy validation workshop planned for today (yesterday) has had to be cancelled due to flight failure at Air Zimbabwe, both in the evening of June 1, 2016, and the morning of June 2, 2016.
“On behalf of the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services (DLVS), the FAO and partners, I wish to express our sincere apologies for this development and pledge to plan against such eventualities in future,” said DLVS principal director Wilmot Chikurunhe.
The affected passengers expressed disappointment, saying Air Zimbabwe was making it difficult for them to run their businesses smoothly.