The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) says more of the 14 SA Airlink-operated BAE Systems Jetstream 4100 turboprop regional airliners grounded last month for safety reasons after a spate of incidents and accidents in the last quartr of last year may take to the air again in coming days.
That after the first of the fleet was on Friday issued a new certificate of airworthiness.
The SACAA in a statement on Friday said “one Jetstream aircraft belonging to SA Airlink has successful completed its re-certification process and as such the Commissioner for Civil Aviation has uplifted the suspension on this aircraft. The re-certification process on the first aircraft also involved a thorough inspection of all maintenance processes.”
The SACAA added that it “believes that the positive cooperation and support that was rendered to its team of Airworthiness Inspectors by SA Airlink will assist in expediting the process of recertifying the aircraft resulting in the subsequent upliftment of the suspensions.
Spokesman Obert Chakarisa told Eyewitness News more aircraft may be cleared this week. “The inspections are continuing and we do believe that obviously after the first one, the ones that are coming will be faster.”
“Whilst the aircraft recertification process is underway, the SACAA is simultaneously monitoring the implementation of the SA Airlink’s Corrective Action Plan that seeks to fully address the findings revealed in the SACAA’s intensified safety audit.
“The SACAA would like to also confirm that the Commissioner for Civil Aviation has also uplifted the suspensions of the certificates of airworthiness of two Jetstream aircraft belonging to Namic (Pty) Ltd, following successful aircraft inspections conducted by the SACAA airworthiness inspectors.
BAE Systems said in a separate statement, also issued Friday, that it along with the engine manufacturer Honeywell, “has provided support to Airlink and consultation with the SACAA to get the Jetstream 41 cleared for return to service.
“The Jetstream 41 has an excellent global safety record and BAE Systems remains confident that the aircraft and its Honeywell engine fully meets international regulatory safety standards.”
Some 100 Jetstream 41s were built between 1992 and 1997, of which 74 are currently in service. Only the SA Jetstream fleet was grounded following SA Airlink’s misfortunes.
In addition to SA Airlink, Jetstream 41s are in service with over 20 operators in Africa, North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.
The aircraft are operated as airliners, corporate transports and for special roles missions.
Jetstream 41s in service have completed over 2 million fleet hours.