HARARE, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Saturday morning barred a South African Airways (SAA) plane bound for Johannesburg from leaving Harare International Airport because it did not have a foreign operating license as required by law.
The grounding of the plane came after South Africa's civil aviation authority on Friday barred Zimbabwe's plane that was due to fly from Johannesburg to Harare from leaving.
SAA on Saturday responded to the cancellation of its flight by Harare by cancelling all its flights to Zimbabwe for the day.
State broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) quoted transport minister Joram Gumbo as saying that the grounding of the flights between the two countries was a compliance issue and not political as both airlines failed to renew their foreign operating licenses as required by international aviation regulations.
The minister said the civil aviation authorities of the two countries were handling the matter which he hoped will be resolved urgently.
The transport minister said he had discussed the issue with his South African counterpart but had left the aviation authorities to address the matter.
The row between the two airlines comes after Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, allegedly assaulted a South African woman last Sunday at a Johannesburg hotel.
South African police wanted to take the First Lady to the courts to face assault charges but the First Lady has since requested for diplomatic immunity against the charges.
Meanwhile, the First Lady remains in South Africa where her husband President Robert Mugabe is attending a SADC summit that ends Sunday.