SA Express said on Sunday it was fully operational again and that it was business as usual after being grounded for nearly two days due to safety concerns
It said its flight schedule had returned to normal.
The state-owned airline’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) was reinstated late on Sunday by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) following a temporary 42-hour suspension related to the airline’s quality assurance systems.
The SACAA served SA Express with a suspension notice on Friday evening which resulted in thousands of passengers being stranded at airports across the country on Saturday and having to be accommodated on other carriers.
The aviation authority said it had suspended all SA Express Flights as a precaution to prevent potentially “catastrophic” incidents.
But the airline said that after meetings between SA Express’ executive management team and SACAA‚ clarity had been provided in terms of the audit related concerns and procedural issues that the airline needed to adhere to‚ which had now been accepted and agreed to. “It is regrettable that discrepancies in the submission of procedural paperwork and submission processes between SA Express and SACAA did not correspond‚” said SA Express CEO Inati Ntshanga.
However‚ he assured the public that this matter had been substantially addressed and would never occur again.
As of 7pm on Sunday night‚ the airline had resumed its normal operating schedule‚ he added.
“I wish to reiterate that SA Express’ safety record is of the highest possible standards‚ which is one of the reasons we are South Africa’s leading regional airline‚” Ntshanga added.
“Since we first took to the skies 22 years ago‚ safety has always been our utmost priority and I can’t reiterate enough that the safety of our passengers‚ crew and aircraft is never negotiable.”
“SA Express sincerely apologises to its passengers‚ staff and stakeholders for the inconvenience that the miscommunication between the relevant authorities caused over the past two days.
“We understand that because of procedural issues we have inadvertently let our passengers down. We have always been known for our reliability‚ our friendly service and our punctual departures and I assure you that my team and I will do everything possible to rebuild that service promise and to restore your faith and confidence in SA Express‚” Ntshanga stated.