Multiple Airlines In South Africa Forced To Ground Aircraft

Regulators in South Africa have forced some carriers in the region to ground parts of their fleet. The move has come after an audit conducted by maintenance firm South African Airways Technical.

African Airways Airbus A340-200
South African Airways is one of the carriers that have been ordered to ground some of its fleet. Photo: MJQH via Wikimedia Commons

Key carriers

Two of the carriers that have been impacted by the order are South African Airways (SAA) and Comair. Flight Global reports that the regulators took action on the firms after irregular findings.

In response, South African Airways has been preparing to operate an amended schedule following the recall of the aircraft involved. The airliners are being now being inspected for complicated verification.

The airline shared that services at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban have been canceled today. These flights were due to be served by Airbus A320s according to SAA’s schedule. Therefore, the carrier will instead accommodate passengers on other services with larger jets.

Kulula is a brand that is operated by Comair. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Necessary procedure

Despite the inconvenience, SAA says that the inspection is a necessary exercise to make sure that safety compliance is met.

“SAA understands that the inspection conducted by SACAA was in accordance with its regulations and a necessary exercise to ensure compliance and safety,” said an SAA spokesperson, as reported by Reuters.

Meanwhile, Comair states that its affected aircraft were grounded until the necessary corrections have taken place. Comair partner with British Airways’ South African franchise and operates on its behalf. The company also operates under its own brand of Kulula. All of Comair’s brands operate with Boeing 737s and the group has said that a says that contingency plan had been put in place to minimize disruption.

Mango Airlines has also been implicated in the groundings. The low-cost carrier is a subsidiary of SAA, meaning that some of its aircraft are under investigation as part of the order.

BA (Comair) B737
Comair operate on behalf of British Airways in South Africa. Photo: Bob Adams via Wikimedia Commons

Busy at work

These airlines will be eager to get the affected planes off the ground as soon as possible. Subsequently, there already looks to be some progress made in restoring some services. Comair made an update today, stating that some of its grounded aircraft have already been put back into action.

“We can confirm that four of the affected aircraft have been released back into service and we are expecting the full fleet to be back in operation by tomorrow morning,” a Comair statement read, shared by The South African.

“The flight schedule has been amended for today and we are working tirelessly to normalise the schedule and minimise disruption for our customers.”

Simple Flying reached out to the airlines involved in the groundings but had not heard back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What do you think about these investigations and the airlines that have been impacted? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.