SA Express on Saturday provided no details of how it will assist its customers after being grounded by South Africa’s aviation regulator.
Instead‚ in a brief statement‚ it confirmed that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) had “temporarily suspended its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) as the SACAA deems the airline’s quality assurance systems to be inadequate”.
“This temporary suspension will impact SA Express’ flight schedule until such time that the SACAA’s concerns have been addressed and the airline has been granted permission to operate again.
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“…Passengers will be accommodated.”
Earlier on Saturday‚ the Civil Aviation Authority announced it had suspended SA Express’ Air Operator Certificate‚ with immediate effect‚ due to concerns over serious safety hazards that pose a risk to the crew‚ passengers‚ and the public.
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“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 aviation authority said of the SAX grounding.
A statement by the aviation authority – in which it highlighted the need for safety above profit – said 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.
The Regulator also found the operator’s proposed corrective action plan inadequate “as it does not satisfactorily address the findings raised”.
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Inati Ntshanga‚ CEO of SA Express‚ responded: “Since we started operations 22 years ago‚ we have had an impeccable safety record as safety has always been our first and foremost priority and we will never compromise our passengers‚ crew‚ the public or our aircraft safety.”
“We are currently in discussions with the SACAA and take their concerns very seriously to resolve these challenges as a matter of urgency.
“We sincerely apologise to our passengers who are being inconvenienced by this regrettable decision but we assure them that we will do everything possible to accommodate them as closely to their original flight schedule as possible.”
Ntshanga added: “We are working in conjunction with the relevant authorities to find an urgent and speedy resolution for this situation‚ so that we can recover operations fully to mitigate the impact on our customers and other stakeholders.”
The airline said passengers in need of assistance can contact 011 978 2355/5096/6384 from 06:00 to 23:00.