FILE PHOTO: The logo of South African Airways (SAA) is seen on an aircraft at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 14, 2019. Picture taken February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo
JOHANNESBURG - Four airlines operating in South Africa were forced to delay flights and ground some planes after inspections were carried out overnight.

State-owned South African Airways and Mango were affected as was Comair Ltd., which operates Kulula and British Airways domestically, according to statements. It’s not routine for airlines in South Africa to suffer simultaneous groundings, but it’s not yet clear whether passenger safety has been at risk or what the technical issues involve.

South African Airways said it will operate an amended flight schedule Tuesday for compliance checks in line with South African Civil Aviation Authority requirements. The decision followed an oversight inspection conducted by the authority at South African Airways Technical, which oversees the maintenance for a number of carriers, according to the airline.

Some flights will operate later than usual and four domestic flights have been canceled, but the airline will combine flights and deploy bigger aircraft to accommodate affected passengers, it said.

‘Irregular Findings’
“Yesterday evening, the South African Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice related to irregular findings picked up during a recent audit of our maintenance and technical service provider, South African Airways Technical,” Comair said in a separate statement.

“We can confirm that four of the affected aircraft have been released back into service and we are expecting the full fleet to be back in operation by tomorrow morning,” it said in an update, without detailing how many planes are not flying.

Kutlwano Mtyeku, a spokesman for Airports Company South Africa, wasn’t immediately able to comment.