CemAir planes grounded ... again

11 January 2019 - 19:54 By Nico Gous
Image: Facebook/CemAir (Pty) Ltd

The South African Civil Aviation Authority has once again stopped CemAir's planes from taking off.

“CemAir is simply unable to prove the continued airworthiness of its entire fleet,” Kabelo Ledwaba, the aviation authority's spokesperson, said on Friday.

The planes were grounded on Friday at 5pm.

The high court in Johannesburg granted an order lifting CemAir’s suspension in December on condition it complied with aviation regulations.

The aviation authority audited CemAir between December 21 and 24.

“The most recent annual renewal audit revealed CemAir’s inability to prove the continued airworthiness of its fleet,” Ledwaba said.

“This audit revealed 11 findings of which five were classified as level 1.”

A level 1 finding is non-compliance, which “poses a very serious safety risk to the public”.

CemAir submitted its plans to address one of the level 1 findings, but the aviation authority deemed these “unacceptable” and grounded eight CemAir planes on December 26.

The aviation regulator then visited CemAir to “confirm that the continued airworthiness finding is addressed satisfactorily”.

“These follow-up inspection exercises did not meet the regulators’ expectations and the necessary evidence could not be produced by the operator.”

The aviation authority also found during their audit that an aircraft manufacturer had inspected CemAir’s planes and told the company what it needed to do.

“Worryingly, the operator could not produce sufficient evidence to authenticate that all recommendations were fully implemented,” Ledwaba said. “Ignoring manufacturer’s recommendations is not only bizarre, but is also a very serious and dangerous omission that should be avoided at all cost by any licence-holder.

“The ‘catch-me-if-you-can’ attitude or predisposition to await recommendations and findings before attending to safety and security matters is dangerous and puts the lives of many at risk.”

CemAir can appeal its suspension within 30 days.