South African government seizes Air Tanzania plane in Johannesburg

South African authorities have seized a plane from Tanzania’s national carrier. The Airbus 220-300 was due to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania but it was impounded.

It was not immediately clear why the action was taken, and South African authorities have not commented, media reports however said the aircraft was impounded because Tanzania’s government had not paid the $33m (£28.8m) it owes in compensation.

Lawyer Roger Wakefield told the BBC that the money was awarded after Tanzania’s government seized lands belonging to South African farmers. A Tanzanian government spokesperson however said that the country’s lawyers had arrived in South Africa to investigate.  

This is also not the first time Air Tanzania has had a plane seized. In 2017, Canadian construction firm Stirling Civil Engineering seized the airline’s new Bombardier Q400 plane in Canada over a $38m lawsuit. The Q400 was released in March 2018 after Tanzania’s prime minister and attorney general negotiated its release.

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