NEWS

Press Release: South African Airline Comair Grounded Indefinitely by Press Release | March 14, 2022

Passengers wearing protective masks Johannesburg, South Africa
Passengers wearing protective masks walk to the check-in counters at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa

CAPE TOWN, March 13 (Reuters) - South Africa's civil aviation regulator grounded Comair's planes indefinitely on Sunday over unresolved safety issues.

A spokesperson for the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said it had extended a 24-hour precautionary suspension of Comair’s operator certificate indefinitely.

The suspension was meant to end on Sunday, but Comair has not adequately addressed all the necessary safety issues, the SACAA said.

“This morning we communicated to them (Comair) that their air operator certificate is now indefinitely suspended until they close all of the findings,” SACAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu told Reuters, effectively grounding the company’s fleet of Boeing aircraft.

Comair said it was unable to confirm when it would start flying again, after working through the night to provide documentation to SACAA following a review of certain policies, systems, and procedures.

“This is a huge blow to our customers, employees, and the flying public as it effectively takes 40% of the capacity out of the market,” Glenn Orsmond, Comair chief executive said in a statement.

There would be considerable implications for the aviation sector and the country should the suspension be prolonged, he added.

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) said that British Airways and Comair arranged charter flights for stranded passengers.

Issuing the precautionary notice on Saturday, the regulator said in the past month Comair had experienced safety problems ranging from “engine failures, engine malfunction and landing gear malfunctions,” among others.

In its investigations, SACAA said it had discovered three so-called “level 1” findings “which pose an immediate risk” and must be addressed immediately.

Issuing the precautionary notice on Saturday, the regulator said in the past month Comair had experienced safety problems ranging from “engine failures, engine malfunction, and landing gear malfunctions,” among others.

Reporting by Wendell Roelf Editing by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Source: Reuters