CemAir's planes to remain grounded after failed court bid against authority

24 January 2019 - 18:32 By ernest mabuza
CemAir has failed in its bid to overturn the South African Civil Aviation Authority's grounding of its planes.
CemAir has failed in its bid to overturn the South African Civil Aviation Authority's grounding of its planes.
Image: Facebook/CemAir (Pty) Ltd

The high court in Johannesburg has dismissed CemAir’s urgent application to overturn the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s decision earlier this month to stop its planes from taking off.

The aviation authority announced on Thursday that the order against CemAir, with costs, was passed by the court on Wednesday.

The SACAA suspended the airline’s air operator certificates on January 11 following its audit of CemAir between December 21 and 24 last year. The suspension meant CemAir could not operate as an airline.

The suspension led Cemair to approach the court on an urgent basis to set aside the regulator’s suspension and grounding notice.

The aviation authority said on Thursday the court ruling meant that CemAir’s part 121 and 131 air operator certificates would remain suspended until such time that the airline had adequately addressed the safety concerns or findings uncovered by the SACAA during the recent renewal audit.

The aviation authority also said the court’s ruling paved the way for the SACAA audit team to demand the return of the certificate of airworthiness for the grounded aircraft.

It said the court’s decision also paved the way for the aviation authority to proceed with its intention to recommend to the director of  civil aviation that CemAir’s air operator certificates be revoked.

"The SACAA does not view the Johannesburg High Court’s decision as a victory for the Regulator, but more as a confirmation that the safety of the people will always take precedence when decisions of aviation safety and security are made," the regulator said in a statement.

The regulator said while it respected the rights of operators to ask the courts to review its decisions, it was also of the view that the time spent going to court could be used gainfully by operators to engage genuinely with the operators to ensure compliance with the prescribed civil aviation regulations.

The SACAA however said it was willing and readily available to assist CemAir to comply with the requisite civil aviation prescripts.