Minister of Transport Mr Fikile Mbalula held a media briefing today in Cape Town to appraise the public about aircraft delays and grounding following a precautionary measure after a safety audit by SACAA.
This emanates from a media article about South African Airways Technical (SAAT) possibly using bogus parts to maintain aircraft, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) conducted an audit on 9 11th October 2019.
South African Airways Technical (SAAT) is an approved Aircraft Maintenance Organisation that conducts maintenance activities on aircraft operated by, among others, South African Airways (SAA), Mango Airlines, Comair and several other foreign air operators.
During the said audit, the SACAA audit team sampled two aircraft:
Of the two sampled aircraft, one was operated by Mango Airlines and the other by Comair.
The audit results revealed findings that put into question the airworthiness status of the said aircraft.
As a result of the findings/non-compliances, on 12 October 2019, the SACAA issued both operators with prohibition orders which immediately hindered them from exercising privileges of the Certificate of Airworthiness (CoA) for the respective two aircraft. Effectively this meant that the two aircraft could not be legally flown until the operators had rectified non-compliances that were identified during this audit.
Subsequent to the issuance of the prohibition orders, Mango grounded 5 of its aircraft and Comair also grounded the aircraft for which the SACAA had issued a prohibition order against.
After the findings were communicated to SAAT, they submitted a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and SACAA accepted the CAP.
As the findings had safety implications for the aircraft operated by Comair, Mango Airlines and SAA, a meeting was scheduled with all the affected airlines. The last engagement was with the CEOs and the technical teams of all three airlines and the CEO of SAAT attended a meeting with the Regulator on Saturday 19 October 2019.
The meeting was followed with formal letters sent on 17 October 2019 confirming the discussions of Saturday, on which the airlines were called upon to assess their fleet and verify if all maintenance was conducted in line with the necessary legislation.
The airlines subsequently conducted the assessments and grounded the affected aircraft.
We are continuously receiving evidence of the work already done on the aircraft from the airlines and we are assessing the evidence and we will continue to provide feedback to the airlines as we complete the evaluation.
The Minister of Transport is committed to assisting SACAA to fully assist the airlines to restore services back to normal and to this effect has asked SACAA to have a team on standby. Minister Mbalula has asked SACAA to put passenger safety as a top priority before all.
Minister Mbalula shall hold a further media update briefing this Thursday 24th October 2019 at OR Tambo International Airport at 9:30 am.
Source: Government of South Africa