File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Twitter followers have shown their disdain and absolute frustration over the grounding of South African Express's aircraft.

Earlier today the South African Civil Aviation Authority suspended SA express's operating permits. The decision means that South African Express will effectively be grounded. 

The company said in a statement that it has suspended the airline's operator’s certificate, its maintenance organisation approvals and the certificates of airworthiness of nine of its 21 aircraft. 

In order for SA Express to regain its permits, it has to reapply and obtain approvals from the relevant institutions. 

Currently trending on Twitter is the hashtag #SAAExpress and users are mainly concerned about what will happen if they have flights tomorrow and whether or not they will get a refund.

Users have long been unhappy with SA express and said was about time that the suspension happened. 

Here are what users had to say:

SAA Express has also reached out via a statement and has said passengers would be accommodated.


DODGY DEAL

Earlier today Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan revealed that SA Express paid R5.7 million to Trillian Capital without following proper processes.

Gordhan announced a new board for SA Express earlier today and said, "an intervention team, the technical support team and the new board will work together to bring stability to the airline."

Tryphosa Ramano is the chairperson of the board which includes Ronald Lamola, Thulani Kgomo, Thandiwe January-McLean, Kugan Thaver, Bongisiwe Mpondo, Hlengiwe Thandeka Makhathini, Thabi Leoka and Ahmed Bassa. The term of the former board expired on May 21.

Gordhan said at a media briefing in Cape Town he was compelled to send in an intervention team last week to find out what was happening at the airline following the suspension of several executive managers on allegations of corruption.

Gordhan revealed that within four days of starting work, his intervention team had discovered two 'dodgy' contracts. 

MERGER

Gordhan also announced that South African Airways (SAA), SA Express and Mango will be merged into one enitity.

“Bringing the airlines together and rationalising their routes and important. Rationalising the kind of aircraft needed at a particular time and day – that’s the experience we’re beginning to learn from airlines around the world,” he said.

“It’s that synergy and savings. Our net guess is that by putting the airlines together, we can go through a transition period where there are going to be difficulties.

“If you have something dysfunctional and (you) try to sell it, you will get little for it. The real challenge is putting the right people in the right places both on boards and management teams, and having the right oversight,” he said.

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE