Pretoria- The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has suspended SA Express air operator certificate following non-compliance from the operator.
In the suspension, which came into effect on Saturday, the SACAA said SA Express has failed to comply with the applicable civil aviation regulations.
The suspension follows a series of non-compliances and the SACAA’s dissatisfaction with the operator’s safety monitoring systems, which are meant to monitor and address any safety deficiencies.
“It is critical to note that this suspension is precautionary and taken in the interest of safety and preventing incidents that can be catastrophic.
The suspension, which is in terms of Part 185 of the Civil Aviation Regulations, pertains to the operator’s air operator certificate (AOC) – N399D, S370D, I/N002, and I/S001,” said the authority in a statement on Saturday.
The regulator also found that the operator’s proposed corrective action plan was inadequate as it does not satisfactorily address the findings raised.
“The SACAA wishes to point out that recent inspections and audits on the airline’s operations have pointed to inefficient safety monitoring systems, and some level of failure by the operator to satisfactorily address concerns raised by the regulator,” it explained.
In addition, the SACAA views the inefficiency of SA Express’ safety monitoring systems in a serious light as it poses serious safety hazards and risks to the crew, passengers, and the public at large.
“For this reason, the regulator cannot allow the operator to continue with operations until such time that the identified safety concerns are adequately addressed.
As much as the SACAA has a duty to help operators comply with applicable regulations, the primary responsibility is on operators to ensure that their operations are safe and secure at all times. “
Failure to do so, said the SACAA is a contravention of the applicable civil aviation regulations.
It further added that aviation safety and security are of paramount importance in the aviation industry and that passengers require some form of assurance that once they board an aircraft they will automatically land safely and hassle-free at their intended destination.
SA Express Cooperation
Meanwhile the SACAA added that it is receiving full cooperation from SA Express.
“The SACAA wishes to emphasise that it is receiving full cooperation from SA Express and will provide any assistance possible, and within the Regulator’s mandate, in order to ensure that the matter is resolved as soon as possible,” it said.
While it it is aware of the effect and disruptions the suspension has on passengers; it is equally important to note that the decision was not taken lightly, said the regulator.
“The SACAA will always remain committed to meeting its obligations and keeping South Africans and those that use the country’s airspace safe. The Regulator is also dedicated to upholding the countries impeccable zero percent accident fatality rate in terms of scheduled operations. Unsafe operations have the potential to undermine the growth and development of the aviation industry.”
In terms of Part 185 of the civil aviation regulations, the operator has the right to appeal the decision with the Director of Civil Aviation within 30 days from the date of receipt of the suspension notice.
The SACAA is a self-funded agency of the Department of Transport tasked with promoting and maintaining a safe, secure, and sustainable civil aviation environment.