/ 23 November 2007

More SA flights experience technical difficulties

A flight was cancelled and another turned back when planes experienced technical difficulties on Friday.

A 7.30am kulula.com flight — heading from Johannesburg to George — was cancelled after a fault with the aircraft’s public-announcement (PA) system was found, said Comair spokesperson Glenda Zvenyika.

”We opted to err on the side of caution and not fly with a faulty PA system because we need that for on-board announcements,” she said.

Zvenyika said Comair was in the process of replacing its MD 82 planes with Boeing 737-400s and acknowledged that some problems had been experienced during the transition.

”We acknowledge the problem with the older aircraft but have come up with a plan to minimise the problem … we will be bringing in a Boeing 37-800 on short lease for December to alleviate the pressure and minimise inconvenience to our customers,” she said.

Also on Friday, a South African Airways (SAA) flight heading to East London was turned back after 6am after a bird flew into the engine, said SAA spokesperson Sarah Uys.

She said the plane would be inspected and repairs would be made if required. The passengers would be accommodated on another flight.

A number of aircraft-related incidents have occurred around the country in the last month — the most serious was when a Johannesburg-bound Boeing 737-200 lost one of its engines during take-off from Cape Town airport.

The incident resulted in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) grounding all Boeing 737-200s for inspection.

On Friday, CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said: ”We have assured the public that we are doing all we can … we are doing all the audits that we are supposed to do. The media is giving too much attention to these technical difficulties.” — Sapa