Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has welcomed the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) submitted by SAA Technical, which aims to address the irregularities that have led to the grounding of a number of aircraft.
On Tuesday, South African Airways (SAA) announced it would operate an amended flight schedule following a decision to recall some of its aircraft to undertake compliance verification, in line with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) requirements.
At a late afternoon briefing on Tuesday, Mbalula said the grounding of the aircraft was a necessary precautionary measure, as the safety of the people is paramount and "airlines owe a duty to their customers to ensure that the aircrafts that are in service meet the safety standards".
"We are pleased that SAA [South African Airways] Technical has since submitted a Corrective Action Plan aimed at addressing the irregularities. The Corrective Action Plan submitted was found to be acceptable by the SACAA.
"We have been briefed by the SACAA that as a consequence of the sampling of a few aircraft, these were subsequently issued with a prohibition order, meaning that these could not operate until they had addressed the non-compliances," said Mbalula.
SAA Technical maintains aircrafts on behalf of a number of airlines, which include South African Airways (SAA), Mango and Comair/British Airways.
The SACAA said the airlines opted to ground some of their own flights following a notice issued by the regulator. The airlines took it upon themselves to ensure that their operations are compliant.
The SACAA is an agency of the Department of Transport with a mandate to regulate aviation safety and security. The regulator has consistently maintained a proud safety record, earning accolades from its peers around the world, Mbalula said.
The Minister said the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) activated full contingency plans at all its airports and ensured that all operational staff were on the floor to support the airlines.
"ACSA is working closely with airlines to minimise the impact on passengers. We appeal to the public to be patient and be on the lookout for updates from their airlines, where there may be delays and cancellations," said the Minister.