Zimbabwe flyafrica (Z7, Harare Int'l) is to remain grounded until it has resolved all outstanding regulatory issues a Harare high court judge has said. The airline's Zimbabwean partner and former accountable manager/CEO, Chakanyuka Karase, surrendered its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) after foreign partner flyafrica Ltd filed fraud charges against an undisclosed member of the Karase family. Pending the outcome of the court case, the airline had planned to resume flights late last week.

But, while Justice Amy Tsanga barred Chakanyuka Karase from interfering with the airline's business, she did order Zimbabwe flyafrica to address a number of irregularities uncovered during CAAZ's subsequent audit of its operations. CAAZ said that it was not suspending Zimbabwe flyafrica's operations as a result of Karase's intervention, but as a result of said irregularities.

In addition to lacking an accountable manager and a local head of maintenance, CAAZ found that even though the LCC was registered in Zimbabwe, substantive control of its operations lay in South Africa. Adding to that, both of the aircraft on its Zimbabwean AOC - two B737-500s - were actually based out of Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, CAAZ said. Other oversights included unsatisfactory maintenance manuals.

“There are directives from CAAZ that what the applicant needs to do is to put its house in order," The Herald quoted Justice Tsanga's ruling. "Local rules and regulations must be observed by applicant instead of crying foul against CAAZ knowing full well its house is not in order. Without attending to the issues, which also include managerial concerns, the suspension will not be uplifted."

Sister carrier Namibia flyafrica (N6, Windhoek Int'l) has also been forced to suspend operations given that it was wet-leasing a B737-500 from Zimbabwe flyafrica for its flights to South Africa. The Namibian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) suspended the carrier's licence earlier this month after an investigation showed it had failed to inform the authority of Zimbabwe flyafrica's AOC revocation while continuing to operate its aircraft.