Airlink 'relieved' about no grounding

Airlink said on Tuesday it was relieved it was not grounded by the Transport Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) following recent accidents.

“Airlink welcomes the vote of confidence by the Minister of Transport and SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) expressed in their confirmation of Airlink’s status as a safe airline,” said chief executive officer Rodger Foster.

The ministry’s announcement followed the CAA’s audit of its processes which raised concerns relating to administrative procedures and management structures at Airlink’s technical facility.

An independent review was still under way.

Corrective action had been taken following the findings, which the company said did not reveal evidence of deficient maintenance.

However, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele gave the airline until next Monday to make sure its maintenance programme met required safety standards.

“Airlink can continue operations, however, this is subject to the resolution of a few immediate concerns, including the submission of a comprehensive corrective action plan as called for by the Civil Aviation Regulations,” spokesperson Thami Ngidi said in a statement.

An audit by the CAA made three observations and recommendations about Airlink’s flight operations and 12 findings on Airlink’s maintenance programme, the Transport Department said.

The decision not to ground the airline followed three accidents involving Airlink in as many months.

In the most recent accident last week on Tuesday, a flight carrying 30 passengers skidded off the runway at George Airport and landed on a road near the N2 freeway.
Another of the accidents claimed the life of pilot Alistair Freeman.—Sapa

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