FLY AFRICA Zimbabwe will refund over 15 000 passengers who bought tickets just before and after the airline’s operating licence was withdrawn recently. This came as employees of the grounded airline received letters sending them on unpaid leave.
Fly Africa chief executive officer, Adrian Hamilton-Manns, told NewsDay yesterday that the shareholder dispute led to its Zimbabwe side’s bank account being frozen with the parent company having to step in.
“As at today, just over 15 000 passengers have been disrupted. The shareholder dispute unfortunately led to Fly Africa Zimbabwe’s bank account being frozen. Fly Africa Zimbabwe’s parent company has had to step in to assist in the refund process,” Manns said.
He could, however, not say how much money the airline was refunding to passengers.
Manns said passengers will be refunded after one and half months from the date that their flights were cancelled.
The shareholder dispute is over funds that went missing and were suspected to have been externalised leaving the company without money to pay the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ).
CAAZ CEO David Chawota said as long as an applicant meets the criteria, they will be issued an operator’s licence.
“Operations for Fly Africa will resume once they have completed the necessary requirements to be given a permit which is based on meeting criteria of the regulatory authority. As long as an applicant (airline) qualifies, we will grant a permit,” Chawota said.
The delay in paying back passengers was due to the unavailability of ready funds.
When the airline’s licence was revoked, passengers were still able to buy tickets online despite flights being grounded. Manns said the airline was hopeful that the issue was going to be quickly resolved.