By Patrick Appleton
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is hopeful that a resolution on blocked airline funds in Zimbabwe will be found soon following a meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently.
IATA CEO and Director General Alexandre de Juniac was joined by Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East Muhammad Ali Albakri for the visit to meet the president and high-ranking officials in Harare.
The meeting was to discuss ways of improving Zimbabwe’s air transport sector to boost the country’s economy.
It was clear from our fruitful meeting that we are united in our commitment to finding an appropriate solution
The African nation has $196 million awaiting repatriation to airlines, but de Juniac said he is confident a solution will be found following a “fruitful” meeting with President Mnangagwa.
“Aviation is a key contributor to the prosperity of this country, but funds from the sale of air tickets in Zimbabwe cannot currently be repatriated to airlines,” said de Juniac.
“It will be negative for business, trade and tourism if airlines are forced to reduce their service to Zimbabwe.
“But it was clear from our fruitful meeting that we are united in our commitment to finding an appropriate solution that will address this and support Zimbabwe’s economic development.”
More joint meetings between IATA and Zimbabwe’s government have been scheduled to immediately finalise the definition of a framework for the return of airlines’ revenues and to implement it while also preventing the accumulation of further debt.