Grounded SA aircraft flying again


Forty of 46 aircraft grounded this week owing to faults at the maintenance unit of state-owned South African Airways (SAA) have been returned to service, South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Chief Executive Poppy Khoza said.

Khoza said SACAA made five findings during its audit at SAA Technical (SAAT), two serious.

The serious findings were that unqualified personnel signed off on maintenance work and maintenance checks on flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders was not done correctly.

Other findings related to lapses in SAAT’s quality management system and failure to implement previous findings by the SACAA, Khoza said.

SACAA accepted a “corrective action plan” from SAAT.

A lack of clarity over the faults at SAAT led to speculation from analysts the regulator had found major infringements.

SAAT maintains aircraft for SAA, its subsidiary Mango and British Airways franchise partner Comair, which operates the brand.

Twenty-five SAA aircraft were grounded this week, 14 from Comair and seven from Mango, Khoza said.