Comair must demonstrate its safety systems are up to scratch by Sunday or the suspension will last indefinitely, said the Civil Aviation Authority. This comes after a ‘spate of safety incidents.’
Comair, which operates British Airways and Kulula flights in South Africa, informed its passengers that its service has been suspended for 24 hours on Saturday, 12 March. The airline said the suspension was unjustified.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the decision to suspend Comair’s operating license was reached following an investigation into the recent “spate of safety incidents” at the airline’s subsidiaries.
CAA said the suspension is a precautionary measure and Comair must demonstrate that its risk and safety management systems are effective by Sunday, 13 March. If not, the suspension could be extended for an indefinite period.
“Just in the past month, Comair operations experienced occurrences ranging from engine failures, engine malfunction and landing gear malfunctions, amongst others,” said the regulator.
CAA said its investigation yielded three level 1 findings and one level 2 finding. According to the regulator, a level 1 finding poses an immediate risk and must be closed immediately, while a level 2 finding must be closed within 7 days.
“Failure of the Operator to produce satisfactory evidence to the Regulator, led to the decision to impose a precautionary suspension of the operations in order to give the Operator an opportunity to demonstrate that their systems are able to prevent and avert safety hazards,” said CAA.
Earlier on Saturday, Comair said its Executive Team are engaging with the CAA on an urgent basis as it believes there is no justification for the suspension.
On Monday, 7 March, a Kulula flight was forced to make an emergency landing after experiencing technical difficulties shortly after take-off. The flight from O.R Tambo, which was heading to Cape Town, was diverted to Lanseria.