Grounded SA Express one step closer to taking off again

According to SA Express, its recently appointed board briefed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan​ on the progress achieved since the grounding. (Image: TimesLive)

According to SA Express, its recently appointed board briefed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan​ on the progress achieved since the grounding. (Image: TimesLive)

SA Express announced on Thursday that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) had reinstated its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) certification on Friday June 22 2018.

In a statement the grounded airline said the AMO certification was issued after the airline had “undergone a stringent and rigorous process to meet the regulator’s high standards”.

SACAA suspended SA Express’ AMO and Air Operators Certificate (AOC) in May and at the same time suspended the Certificates of Airworthiness for nine of the 21 aircraft operated by the airline. SACAA cited non-compliance in relation to 17 specific findings.

The regulatory body does not disclose full details of its audits.

Poppy Khoza, SACAA director of civil aviation, said at the time of the grounding that SACAA cannot turn a blind eye to any operation where there is overwhelming evidence that safety measures are compromised, because that automatically poses serious danger for the crew, passengers and the public at large.

“All of our corrective action plans were accepted by SACAA for all the findings which led to the suspension of the AMO and AOC. A team comprising members of the newly appointed board of directors, the Ministerial Intervention Team, as well as SA Express’ dedicated employees have worked tirelessly to implement the SACAA approved corrective action plans (CAPS),” the SA Express statement read.

The airline said it wants to assure the public and its customers that it has “focused intensely” on addressing the root causes that led to its grounding and has now restructured the internal processes that allowed the suspension by SACAA to occur in the first place.

SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba told Fin24 on Thursday that the reinstatement of the AOC of SA Express does not mean it could take off in the near future. This is because the final phase of a five-phase SACAA process to re-certify the airline’s AOC must still be completed.

According to SA Express, its recently appointed board briefed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on the progress achieved since the grounding. The airline said Gordhan expressed his satisfaction with progress to return the airline to full operation in the near future.

While SA Express is grounded, three partner airlines — SAA, Mango Airlines and SA Airlink — collaborated to try and mitigate the impact of the suspension on its services and to ensure business continuity.

SA Express was already grounded for a short period 2017. — Fin24

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