A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) inspection of the technical maintenance division of South African Airways (SAAT) saw British Airways, Kulula.com and SAA cancel 12 flights on Tuesday 22 October 2019. SAAT services planes for all three airlines.
Comair, the operator of Kulula.com and British Airways in South Africa, released the following statement: “We can confirm that four of the affected aircraft have been released back into service and we are expecting the full fleet to be back in operation by tomorrow morning.”
SAA said it had made “a decision to recall some of its aircraft to undertake compliance verification“.
SA Civil Aviation Authority statement on precautionary safety measures by airlines
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) can confirm that as part of its day-to-day aviation safety and security oversight activities, it most recently, conducted an inspection at South African Airways Technical (SAAT), an approved aircraft maintenance organisation.
During the audit, the SACAA sampled a few aircraft, which were subsequently issued with a prohibition order, meaning these aircraft could not operate until such time they had addressed the non-compliances.
South African Airways Technical has since submitted a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to the SACAA aimed at addressing the irregularities. The Corrective Action Plan was found to be acceptable by the SACAA.
The SACAA has been in communication with the concerned approval-holders, i.e. South African Airways Technical, Mango, Comair and South African Airways, and directed them to conduct a verification exercise on their fleet to ensure that the identified irregularities were not prevalent in the entire fleet.
If any of the aircraft is deemed not to be safe to fly, then the operator is expected to correct any non-conformities and ensure that the affected aircraft are not flown before the necessary corrective measures are undertaken.
List of cancelled flights
SA 313, Johannesburg to Cape Town
SA 326, Cape Town to Johannesburg
SA 543, Johannesburg to Durban
SA 550, Durban to Johannesburg
MN504, Durban to Lanseria
BA6400, Cape Town to Johannesburg
BA6441, Johannesburg to Cape Town
BA6200, Durban to Johannesburg
BA6232, Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg
BA6406, Cape Town to Johannesburg
BA6413, Johannesburg to Cape Town
BA6414, Cape Town to Johannesburg
The SACAA has since noted that operators have taken precautionary measures and undertaken what is normally referred to as ‘self-grounding’, to enable them to conduct verification that their aircraft are safe to fly. The airlines are expected to provide assurance to the Regulator that all aircraft that are released back to service meet the regulatory requirements.
The SACAA appreciates the seriousness by which the airlines have taken the concerns and believes this cooperation goes a long way in ensuring continued safety and security of civil aviation in South Africa.
The Regulator will continue to work closely with all the approval-holders until the deficiencies have been attended to and the ‘self-grounded’ aircraft are deemed safe to fly.