Regulator suspends Kulula and British Airways flights in South Africa indefinitely

South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has indefinitely suspended Comair flights in South Africa due to safety concerns.

In a statement on Saturday (12 March), Comair said its Kulula and British Airways flights have been suspended, with the grounding expected to last for 24 hours.

However, SACAA confirmed the suspension would continue until its concerns had been adequately addressed in a statement on Sunday morning (13 March). It cited several instances in recent weeks which had raised safety concerns.

“The suspension follows the visit by the SACAA to the operator to investigate and determine the cause of a spate of occurrences affecting a concerning number of flights operated by and BA Comair. The SACAA sought to confirm Comair’s compliance with applicable Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs).

“The inspection was also aimed at reviewing Comair’s quality control management system (QC) and safety management systems (SMS) to establish compliance related to reporting, analysis and follow-up on occurrences, and corrective action plans to prevent recurrence.”

SACAA said it is fully committed to ensuring that Comair is back in the air and has dedicated a full team to assess and review the evidence as it gets submitted.

“The commitment to safety, in this case, supersedes any other need and this is to ensure that South Africa maintains its safety record of having zero fatal airline accidents in over thirty years on South African soil. The lives of our aviation personnel and the users of civil aviation services is paramount, and it is a responsibility the regulator does not take lightly.”

Comair went into business rescue in May 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the airline and travel industry. It resumed flying in December 2020, while in business rescue.

It has subsequently been forced to start and stop flights several times in the last 18 months due to ongoing lockdown restrictions.

Read: Regulator grounds Kulula and British Airways flights in South Africa

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