Johannesburg - Forty of the 46 aeroplanes grounded this week owing to faults found at the maintenance unit of state-owned South African Airways (SAA) have been returned to service, the head of the aviation regulator said on Thursday.
The faults found at SAA Technical have focused attention on the crisis at SAA, which hasn't made an annual profit since 2011 or published financial results since 2017 because of question marks over its long-term viability as a business.
SAA has floundered with an unprofitable route network and a fleet of ageing and inefficient aeroplanes.
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Chief Executive Poppy Khoza told a news conference the regulator had made five findings during an audit at SAA Technical, after which it issued a prohibition order stopping some aircraft from flying.
As of Wednesday evening more than 80% of SAA's affected aircraft were back in service, however, SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali told Reuters.