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Gauteng

CemAir flights grounded with immediate effect over safety issues

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Johannesburg – The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) on Friday put a stop to CemAir's operations following the suspension of the airlines' Part 121 and 135 Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) from 5pm with immediate effect.

"The suspension was necessitated by the SACAA's concerns over the systemic failure of the airline’s maintenance controls. In a nutshell, the most recent annual renewal audit revealed CemAir's inability to prove the continued airworthiness of its fleet," it said.

Last month, the aviation regulator suspended CemAir's air operator certificates after the airline allegedly contravened legislation and civil aviation regulations.

SACCA said that it had numerous interactions with CemAir between December 28, 2018, and January 11, and had also visited CemAir operations in order to gather evidence and confirm that the continued airworthiness finding was addressed satisfactorily.

During the audit, SACAA said it learnt that an aircraft manufacturer had given CemAir an assessment of their aircraft maintenance schedule with findings and recommendations on what needed to be done in order to get the maintenance status of their fleet on track, but CemAir bizarrely ignored the manufacturer's recommendations.

"Ignoring manufacturer’s recommendations is not only bizarre but is also a very serious and dangerous omission that should be avoided at all cost by any licence-holder," SACAA said.

"Based on the renewal audit findings and the subsequent confirmation of the systemic maintenance failure, it became evident and without a doubt that CemAir is simply unable to prove the continued airworthiness of its entire fleet."

CemAir has the right to appeal to the director of civil aviation within 30 days should they feel aggrieved by this suspension, meaning that they must lodge an appeal before February 11.

SACAA said that it was willing, able, and on stand-by to assist CemAir to comply with the requisite civil aviation regulatory prescripts.

"The SACAA is mandated with regulating civil aviation safety and security thereby ensuring the safety of the flying community. The main reason why some enforcement actions are made public is to empower and alert the flying community to make informed decisions when utilising aviation operators," it said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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