THE United States embassy in Harare has barred its citizens and staff from travelling on Air Zimbabwe, citing safety concerns after the national carrier recently failed to meet certain international safety standards and was subsequently banned from flying into Europe.
In a statement on Thursday, US embassy spokesperson David McGuire said the prohibition order was with immediate
“While we await a response on how Air Zimbabwe and Caaz [Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe] will address those concerns, US Embassy Harare has advised US citizens that embassy personnel are prohibited from travel on Air Zimbabwe effective immediately,’ he said.
“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.
“We stand ready to work with Air Zimbabwe and Caaz 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.”
The move by the US embassy comes amid speculative reports that United Nations agencies based in Harare have ordered their staff to avoid the national airline over similar concerns.
The ban means Air Zimbabwe will not be able to fly directly into European Union countries and can only do so using leased aircraft and cabin crew.
Other airlines blacklisted alongside Air Zimbabwe over safety shortfalls include Nigeria’s Med-View, Mustique Airways from St Vincent and the Grenadines and Ukraine’s Air Urga.