Aviation at a Standstill After First Lady of Zimbabwe Found Topless Model in Tryst With Her Sons

The 52 year old wife of Zimbabwe’s 93 year old strongman leader Robert Mugabe is ‘marooned’ in South Africa after allegedly beat a topless nightclub model with an extension cord after finding the woman with her two sons in a hotel.

She no showed her court appearance this week. Zimbabwe is seeking diplomatic immunity for her, and relations between the two countries are currently on thin ice.

On Friday South Africa seized an Air Zimbabwe aircraft scheduled to fly Johannesburg – Harare after the South African Civil Aviation Authority demanded the plane’s foreign operators license, which they didn’t have. Normally the route is operated by a Boeing 737 on Fridays but reportedly it was the 767 the President used to fly to South Africa two days earlier instead.

Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767, by Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia Commons

And apparently Air Zimbabwe re-joined twitter as a result.

Since Air Zimbabwe lacks the required license, and the South African government is now enforcing the requirement, Air Zimbabwe’s Johannesburg-Bulawayo and Johannesburg-Victoria Falls services are grounded as well. The airline cancelled its Saturday morning Harare – Johannesburg flight, not wanting to strand the aircraft in South Africa.

In retaliation Zimbabwe grounded South African Airways’ flight SA25 from Harare to Johannesburg.

SA 025 was due to depart Harare for Johannesburg at 0720hrs Saturday but after the aircraft had been loaded with its cargo and passengers, officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) ordered the pilots to abandon take-off.

Passengers endured a nearly two-hour wait before they were ordered off the aircraft.

Zimbabwe’s regulators have been instructed “to stop SAA and British Airways aircraft from leaving” (emphasis mine) “because they too do not have the permit to operate in Zimbabwe. They can land, but they will not leave with passengers until this matter is sorted.”

Whether the move by South Africa against Air Zimbabwe is related to the diplomatic row over the behavior of the First Lady of Zimbabwe is unclear, South Africa’s regulator claims to have recently taken similar actions against Qatar, Turkish, and Saudia.

Zimbabwe’s move against South African Airways (and rumored future move against British Airways) is clearly motivated by retaliation for South Africa’s move against Air Zimbabwe.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. SACAA is notorious for doing this, especially on a Friday afternoon. They send a fax at 3pm saying your license is suspended until you provide some ridiculously petty paperwork (like a better photo copy of page 36 of the insurance policy) and then show up 5 minutes later at the aircraft demanding to see a valid license or else. So while it may be linked to the Mugabe saga, it is something that they have been doing for years.

  2. Close your mind and read That Air Zimbabwe tweet. It’s cadence is eerily reminiscent of a Trump tweet.

  3. I’d be surprised if this lasted long. I would think Victoria Falls is a significant chunk of Zimbabwe’s income, and most visitors arrive via South Africa. You could still fly to the Zambia side of the falls and cross the border by land. I assume the aircraft will be rerouted to the airport there.

  4. It’s amazing how Mugabe ran Zimbabwe/ Rhodesia into the ground everything that was feared when he came to power in 1980, the previous government though racist kept the country running well even under sanctions for 15 years.

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