SA Express can fly two planes again but 19 remain grounded
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has cleared SA Express to fly again‚ but it has only granted airworthiness certificates to two of the airline's 21 planes.
It said in a statement that “as such‚ the airline is in the meantime permitted to operate with only two of its aircraft”.
In May‚ the CAA grounded of nine of SA Express's 29 planes after an audit discovered very poor maintenance of aircraft and “severe cases of non-compliance that posed serious safety risks”.
It then suspended the airline's Air Operator Certificate stopping the airline from flying any place and the CAA suspended certification for its maintenance company.
On Thursday SA Express received its Air Operator Certificate allowing it to run.
Last month its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approval was successfully reinstated.
The grounding of the airline came just days after state-owned enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan had replaced the board at SA Express.
SA Express flies to smaller South African cities and is a subsidiary of SAA‚ which is R21-billion in debt.
According to Business Day‚ “in 2016‚ the airline was grounded for 36 hours‚ but was allowed to resume operations based on undertakings to improve safety and maintenance.”
In a statement‚ the CAA said safety can’t be sacrificed in order to make a profit.
“A key message to all operators and aviation personnel is that financial sustainability must always be carefully balanced with the need to uphold‚ at all times‚ acceptable levels of aviation safety and security. If the scale is heavily tilted towards one end‚ the air transport network as we all know it today‚ will cease to exist‚” said Poppy Khoza‚ Director of Civil Aviation at the CAA.