FlySafair flight tickets

FlySafair are bringing back their popular low-cost flight sales – Photo: Jonathan Khoo / Flickr

FlySafair clear the air after flight suffers “multiple system failures”

A FlySafair flight carrying 136 people on-board was subjected to a “multiple systems failure” during a recent trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

FlySafair flight tickets

FlySafair are bringing back their popular low-cost flight sales – Photo: Jonathan Khoo / Flickr

The pilots on board a FlySafair flight last month kept their cool and managed to land the plane safely, just moments after suffering “multiple system failures”. Six crew members and 130 passengers were on board the aircraft, which had to return to OR Tambo Airport shortly after takeoff.

The mid-air scare occurred on 16 September, on a flight bound for Cape Town at 7:30. But as soon as they were off the ground, several instruments were not working, and warning lights went off in the cockpit. The pilots at the wheel checked their quick reference handbook to troubleshoot the problem before heading back to for a safe landing.

Johannesburg – Cape Town FlySafair flight suffers “multiple system failures”

Once they had securely landed the plane on the tarmac, the incident was reported to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). They recently released a report on the matter, which discovered the general control unit (GCU) was not properly latched, meaning the master caution panel detected something unusual.

  • The following conclusions were reached:

“During rotation, the aircraft had multiple system failures indication on the master caution panel. The aircraft continued to climb and after assessment of the aircraft, the crew decided to return back to OR Tambo International Aerodrome (FAOR) and the aircraft was landed safely.”

“All systems were reported to have operated normally during pre-flight, start-up, taxi and take off roll. The aircraft lined up and started its takeoff run, on rotating the crew observed lights illuminating on a master caution panel showing multiple failures.”

“No emergency services were activated as the crew felt that the aircraft was flying normally. The landing was uneventful and during the landing roll all the captain’s flight instruments and comm 1 failed. After the shut- down it was discovered that the general control unit (GCU) was not properly latched.”

Air scare for FlySafair

FlySafair’s Head of Sales and Distribution Kirby Gordon helped bring some more clarity to the incident: Speaking to, he was keen to downplay the severity of the event. Gordon states that the technical language – like “multiple systems failure” and “comms failure” sounds much worse than they actually are.

According to the airline’s representative, there are a few things that need putting straight:

“The general control unit came loose and it’s not a huge thing, but it stops us from engaging the auto-pilot. The aircraft gave them an alert to make a landing. If we’re using an analogy, it’s like not shutting your boot properly on a car and getting a warning light on your dashboard. It’s not catastrophic, but both the airline and SACAA have taken things seriously to ensure the safety of travellers going forward.”

“Yes, multiple systems failed, but its not a complete system failure. There was very little obvious wrong, bar the warnings on the screen. It’s not true that the pilots were without communications. If even momentarily, the captain loses contact, doesn’t mean the aircraft has – sadly, the report doesn’t reflect that.”

Kirby Gordon

All’s well that ends well

No injuries were reported on board the stricken flight, and FlySafair were able to get the passengers over to Cape Town later in the day. Gordon also praised the SACAA for doing a thorough job on their report, saying they have shown the appropriate amount of caution to ensure the safety of their travellers.

The news comes just a few weeks after a Mango Airlines flight suffered an alleged “nosedive” during a domestic flight. Investigators ruled that faulty parts – supplied through an illegal agreement – caused the momentary lapse in control. Mango are owned by South African Airways, and the dodgy deal is linked to the legacy of state capture.