S.African airline Comair’s fleet grounded indefinitely

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -South Africa’s civil aviation regulator grounded Comair’s planes indefinitely on Sunday over unresolved questions of safety, in a transfer that additionally impacts low-cost airline Kulula and British Airways, leaving tons of of passengers stranded.

A spokesperson for the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) stated it had prolonged a 24-hour precautionary suspension of Comair’s operator certificates indefinitely.

The suspension was meant to finish on Sunday, however Comair has not adequately addressed all the mandatory questions of safety, the SACAA stated.

“This morning we communicated to them (Comair) that their air operator certificates is now indefinitely suspended till they shut all the findings,” SACAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu instructed Reuters, successfully grounding the corporate’s fleet of Boeing plane.

Comair stated it was unable to substantiate when it will begin flying once more, after working by means of the night time to offer documentation to SACAA following a evaluate of sure insurance policies, methods and procedures.

“This can be a big blow to our prospects, workers and the flying public because it successfully takes 40% of the capability out of the market,” Glenn Orsmond, Comair chief government stated in a press release.

There could be appreciable implications for the aviation sector and the nation ought to the suspension be extended, he added.


Airports Firm SA (ACSA), which runs the nation’s largest airports, stated a number of the stranded passengers had been positioned on chartered flights organized by BA and Comair, particularly for commuters on the favored Johannesburg and Cape City route.

“Precedence can also be given to these passengers who’ve onward worldwide connecting flights,” Terence Delomoney, ACSA’s group government operations supervisor stated.

Issuing the precautionary discover on Saturday, the regulator stated previously month Comair had skilled security issues starting from “engine failures, engine malfunction and touchdown gear malfunctions,” amongst others.

In its investigations, SACAA stated it had found three so-called “stage 1” findings “which pose an instantaneous danger” and should be addressed instantly.

Gwebu didn’t elaborate on what excellent questions of safety Comair, which flies native and regional routes from South Africa beneath the British Airways (BA) livery as a part of a licence settlement, wanted to deal with earlier than flying once more. Moreover flying BA planes, Comair additionally operates the Kulula model.

A discover on Kulula’s web site confirmed that Comair had been aiming to renew its schedule by 12 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Sunday, topic to SACAA’s approval.

“We are going to do every thing we are able to to accommodate prospects affected by the suspension on different flights, prioritising weak prospects and those that most urgently wanted to journey,” Comair stated, including that prospects would even be saved knowledgeable by way of textual content.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf Modifying by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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