Flights cancelled South Africa BA KULULA SAA MANGO

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Up in the air: Concerns raised over “novice” SAA flight inspectors

Not exactly the most reassuring news for frequent flyers. But SAA are under the cosh after two of their flight inspectors were deemed “under-qualified”.

Flights cancelled South Africa BA KULULA SAA MANGO

Image: Wikimedia Commons

South African Airways (SAA) are at the centre of a controversy regarding the training of their flight inspectors. The officials, who are in charge of evaluating the condition of each plane in the fleet, are alleged to be “dangerously underqualified” and lacking in the necessary experience the role demands.

The Sunday Times report that the South African Civil Aviation Authority have had to step in, and they’re insisting that at least two of the inspectors receive further training: A new batch of Airbus A350s are being introduced to SAA’s Johannesburg-New York route, prompting intervention from above.

“Unqualified” flight inspectors at SAA

A report filed by the Civil Aviation Authority claims that the two investigators have “limited operational experience”. The pair are alleged to be novices in relative terms. One of them has never actually flown a plane before, whereas the other has only logged 102 hours as a “pilot in command”.

Pilots and senior officials from SAA who spoke to the publication have claimed that the training procedures are “irregular” at the airline, with one source saying it was pointless to train these employees on the A350 planes – comparing it to a nurse giving a brain surgeon their advice in a delicate medical procedure.

How much money do South African Airways owe their creditors?

SAA said it was aligned with SACAA on “what needs to be done” and will see this initiative through. This latest issue slots into a catalogue of errors that has blighted the airline over the years. As well as needing regular bailouts and loans just to keep their staff on the payroll, boardroom chaos has held the firm back.

Former CEO Vuyi Jarana resigned earlier in the year, saying that he had no faith in the direction of the state-owned airline. There’s not been much to report in terms of stability since then, and earlier this week, SAA were given another cash injection of R5.5 billion.

But don’t get your hopes up. This latest “investment” isn’t enough to keep the wolves at bay. The airline has already indicated that they will need a further R2 billion by December, as their debt soars past the R17 billion mark. The firm are said to be seeking another R10 billionn next year to complete their turnaround plan.