US embassy in Zimbabwe bans staff, citizens from flying Air Zimbabwe

The United States embassy in Zimbabwe has ordered all citizens and staff to stop flying in Air Zimbabwe aircraft due to safety concerns after the airline failed to meet critical European Union and international aviation safety standards.

The US move came one week after the EU banned Air Zimbabwe, Nigerian company Med-View, Mustique Airways of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Ukrainian Air Urga from flying into European airspace.

In a statement yesterday, US embassy spokesperson David McGuire said the prohibition was effective immediately.

“The European Aviation Safety Agency [EASA] raised some legitimate questions regarding operational safety that neither Air Zimbabwe nor Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority have adequately addressed.

« While we await a response on how Air Zimbabwe and CAAZ will address those concerns, US Embassy Harare has advised US citizens that embassy personnel are prohibited from travel on Air Zimbabwe effective immediately,’ McGuire said.

He said the US is ready to work with Air Zimbabwe and the civil aviation authority in addressing the outstanding airline safety concerns. The embassy would lift the airline ban once the issues have been ‘verifiably’ addressed in line with international standards.

The US announcement comes days after reports that the United Nations and other Western embassies in Harare have advised their nationals and staff to stop using Air Zimbabwe citing aviation safety concerns raise by the EU.

Until safety concerns are resolved, Air Zimbabwe cannot fly to Europe unless it used leased aircraft and cabin crews. (africanaerospace, photo: Air Zimbabwe)

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