Zimbabwe’s national airline, Air Zimbabwe, has been banned from flying in EU airspace because it does not meet international safety standards.

The struggling airline is listed on the European Union Commission Air Safety List of carriers banned or restricted from operating in the EU. More than 100 airlines have been listed, among them 21 Russian-certified airlines.  

 The commission said in a statement: “Ninety airlines certified in 15 different states, due to inadequate safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states; 21 airlines certified in Russia, as well as six individual airlines from other states, based on serious safety deficiencies identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).”

“Two additional airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea),” read the EU communique.

Air Zimbabwe, a state-owned airline, is saddled with huge debts, owing foreign and domestic creditors more than US$300m.

In 2019, the airline was suspended by Airports Company SA (Acsa) over nonpayment of airport charges. Last year the airline resumed flights after a one-and-half year break due to operational challenges and the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past, the airline has been grounded for engine failures and malfunctions.