South African Airways plans to appeal a decision by the High Court that it is liable to the Zimbabwe government for meteorological fees.

SAA Spokesperson, Tlali Tlali, told Tourism Update that the national carrier was aware of the judgment and that it planned to appeal the decision. “SAA’s legal representatives in Zimbabwe have filed an appeal against the judgment in the Supreme Court. There will therefore be no action that can be taken against SAA, until the determination of the case by the (Zimbabwean) Supreme Court,” said Tlali.

This follows the recent Zimbabwean High Court decision that the SA national carrier had to pay Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry more than US$87 700 in meteorological fees.

The judgment comes after a six-year-long legal battle, following the discovery that SAA had not paid the fees since it started using Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport. It had not paid the fees since 2006. The fees are levied on airlines for the provision of weather information used for flight navigation.

Online daily news site, New Zimbabwe, reported Zimbabwean High Court judge, Ephraim Tagu, as saying “there was nothing wrong in the ministry seeking to claim what was owed to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe by the airline”.

Tourism Update contacted the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for comment but this proved unsuccessful.

The judgment comes after South Africa reinstated permission in October last year for Air Zimbabwe to fly into Johannesburg. The Zimbabwean national carrier was banned from SA airports over unpaid airport service fees such as landing and parking fees and passenger service charges for its flights to Johannesburg.