• Chidozie Uzoezie

SA Express Grounded Due To Safety Concerns

The South African Civil Aviation Authority on Saturday 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.

"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”.

The SACAA said 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.

“The SACAA views the inefficiency of the 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.”

It noted: “As much as the SACAA is fully aware of the effect and disruptions the suspension has on passengers; it is equally important to note that the decision was not taken lightly and is‚ in fact‚ in the interest of ensuring that the operator’s safety systems are beyond reproach and can offer an acceptable level of safety for passengers and crew.”

Unsafe operations have the potential to undermine the growth and development of the aviation industry‚ as well as the country’s highly regarded civil aviation safety and security standards‚ the SACAA said.

SA Express (SAX) has the right to appeal the decision with the Director of Civil Aviation within 30 days. It is a domestic and regional‚ passenger and cargo carrier established on 24 April 1994.

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