Travelling chaos after Zimbabwe air traffic controllers go on strike
Planes now landing in Harare after morning chaos triggered by go-slow by air traffic controllers
|Travelling chaos … The Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare|
HARARE – A go-slow strike by air traffic controllers caused travelling chaos on Monday morning with planes unable to take-off or land at Zimbabwean airports.
A South African Airlink plane which landed at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo at 7.45AM was due to turn back at 8.05AM but did not take off for almost another two hours.
Air Zimbabwe’s only aircraft servicing domestic and regional routes took off from the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare as scheduled for its morning service to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
The Boeing 767 200-ER, due to return to Harare to pick up passengers to Johannesburg, was forced to sit on the tarmac in Victoria Falls for nearly two hours from 8.30AM as negotiations with the air traffic controllers continued.
The plane only took off at 10.15AM.
A Fastjet plane due to fly to Johannesburg and an Airlink flight from Harare to Johannesburg appeared to have failed to get clearance for takeoff.
Anna Hungwe, the spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, said she was attending a conference in Victoria Falls and had not been briefed.
Airport sources told ZimLive that a team from the United Nations’ aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), is currently in Zimbabwe assessing safety standards and compliance.
It was not clear whether their presence had anything to do with the airport disruption, although rumours were swelling in aviation circles that the air traffic controllers wanted to use ICAO’s visit to force the employer’s hand in negotiations for improved pay.
At around 11AM, data from flight-monitoring website FlightRadar24 showed a Kenyan Airways plane landing in Harare, closely followed by the Air Zimbabwe aircraft.
It was not immediately clear if the strike had been called off.
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: November 26, 2019 at 06:42AM