The Transport Department says both South African Airways and Air Zimbabwe have now submitted the foreign operators' permits required by international aviation regulations.
All flights between Johannesburg and Harare were grounded on Saturday due to non-compliance in this regard, according to aviation authorities in both counties. Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi held an emergency meeting with aviation entities last night to try to resolve the issue. SAA has activated recovery plans with every effort being made to assist hundreds of stranded passengers, spokesman Tlali Tlali said by text message.
In an interview on SABC television he said the costs of the canceled flights couldn’t yet be calculated. Comair, which operates between South Africa and Zimbabwe under a franchise agreement with British Airways, also stopped its Saturday flights.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the department says it's anticipated that the whole matter will be resolved within a day. Zimbabwe's Transport Minister Joram Gumbo has denied there was any political reason for the grounding of flights between the two countries.
He was questioned by various media on the point. Several observers including South Africa's Democratic Alliance have linked the grounding to the impasse over Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe.
She is seeking diplomatic immunity for assault charges in South Africa. Mugabe has yet to be seen at the SADC heads of state summit in Pretoria, where her husband, President Robert Mugabe, has been meeting with other regional leaders. The summit ends on Sunday.
Credit: SABC / Bloomberg