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British Airways, Kulula back in the skies after regulator lifts suspension

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has lifted the ended a five-day five-day long suspension of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Comair. File Picture

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has lifted the ended a five-day five-day long suspension of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Comair. File Picture

Published Mar 17, 2022

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Pretoria - The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has lifted the five-day long suspension of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Comair, which grounded British Airways and low-cost airline Kulula.com.

The regulator announced that it has now concluded the assessment and evaluation of Comair’s evidence to close the Level 1 findings raised during the audit which started on March 7.

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“The evaluation of the evidence was concluded on the evening of 16 March 2022. The impact of this outcome paves the way for the Director of Civil Aviation to uplift the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Comair with immediate effect,” the regulator said in statement.

The SACAA audited Comair following a spate of occurrences which posed “safety risks” by Kulula.com and British Airways’ Comair airlines.

The regulator said it also sought to confirm Comair’s compliance with applicable Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs).

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

“This brings to an end a five-day long suspension of the AOC which was imposed by the Regulator from 12 March 2022. The Director of Civil Aviation heralds the commitment shown by the Regulator’s inspectorate team from the first day of the audit leading up to the sleepless nights spent evaluating evidence all in the interest of ensuring aviation safety.”

The airline operator, Comair, was also acknowledged for “cooperation and commitment” during the period, which signalled “the seriousness in which the operator took this matter and the openness displayed in the days leading up to this day”.

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The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is a Schedule 3A public entity reporting to the Department of Transport established in terms of the Civil Aviation Authority Act.

In terms of mandate, the SACAA is tasked with promoting and maintaining a safe, secure, and sustainable civil aviation environment, by regulating and overseeing the functioning and development of the industry in an efficient, cost-effective, and customer-friendly manner according to international standards.

The SACAA is governed and controlled by the Civil Aviation Authority Board.

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