The fleet of South African airline KOMER has been grounded indefinitely

  • The regulator is closing in on Comair
  • Hundreds of passengers were stranded
  • The company says it is unclear when they can fly again

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa’s civil aviation regulator indefinitely ground Comair planes on Sunday over safety issues, in a move that also affects budget airline Kolula and British Airways, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

A spokesperson for the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said it has extended a 24-hour precautionary suspension of the Comair operator’s certification indefinitely.

The agency said the suspension was set to expire on Sunday, but Kommer did not adequately address all necessary safety issues. Read more

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SACAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu told Reuters this morning we have informed them (Kumer) that their air operator certification is now on hold indefinitely until they close all results. (ban) Planes.

Kommer said she was unable to confirm when flying would start again, after working through the night to submit documents to the SACAA after reviewing certain policies, regulations and procedures.

“This is a huge blow to our customers, employees and the air public as it effectively takes 40% of production capacity from the market,” Comair CEO Glenn Orsmond said in a statement.

He added that there will be significant repercussions on the aviation sector and the state if the suspension is prolonged.

charter flights

Airports SA (ACSA), which operates the country’s largest airports, said some stranded passengers were put on charter flights organized by British Airways and Commer, especially for travelers on the popular Johannesburg-Cape Town route.

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“Priority is also given to those travelers with connecting international flights,” said Terence Delomony, ACSA Group COO.

The regulator issued the protective notice on Saturday and said last month that Kommer had encountered safety issues ranging from “engine failures, engine failures and landing gear failures” among others.

In its investigations, the agency said it had discovered three so-called “level 1” findings that “pose an immediate risk” and must be addressed immediately.

Gwebu did not elaborate on what outstanding safety issues Comair, which flies on domestic and regional routes from South Africa under British Airways (BA) livery as part of the licensing agreement, must be addressed before flying again. Besides British Airways aircraft, Comair also operates the Kulula brand.

A notice on Kulula’s website showed Comair was aiming to resume its schedule by 12 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Sunday, subject to SACAA approval.

“We will do everything in our power to accommodate customers affected by the suspension of other flights, prioritizing high-risk customers and those most in need of travel,” Kummer said, adding that customers will also be informed via text messages.

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(Reporting by Wendell Rolfe) Editing by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter and Emilia Sithole Mataris

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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