Embattled South African airline SA Airlink has had to undergo an audit by the Ministry of Transport and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) after three accidents in just three months involving the airline’s planes. But the airline will not be grounded, according to South African Minister of Transport, Sibusiso Ndebele. It does need to ensure that its maintenance programme meets required safety standards within the next week, however.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we do not compromise safety in all modes of transport including road, sea and air,” Ndebele said. “We remain uncompromising in safeguarding the aviation and maritime sectors in our country which have kept world-class standards of safety. We cannot drop these standards at any cost.”
Last week, a flight carrying 30
passengers left the runway at George Airport and landed close to the N2 freeway. Nobody was hurt in the incident; however, an accident claimed the life of pilot Alistair Freeman in September, when he was forced to crash-land a plane on a school soccer field just 400m from Durban’s International Airport. One of the plane’s engines failed.
In 2006, the privately owned airline was the preferred bidder for a 40 percent stake in Air Botswana, but the strategic partnership was scuppered.