British Airways’ franchise partner in Africa, Comair, is set to resume flights from Thursday 17 March.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority suspended Comair’s operating licence on Saturday 12 March 2022 following a number of safety related incidents at the airline.
The SACAA is now satisfied that its enquiries into the “Level 1” incidents that required an immediate response are closed.
The suspension of Comair’s operating licence has now been lifted with immediate effect.
Whilst Comair has been grounded, BA has offered passengers whose connections on Comair to its long haul flights are cancelled the option to rebook on to AirLink or South African Airways.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority has issued the following statement:
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has concluded the assessment and evaluation of Comair’s evidence to close the Level 1 findings raised during the audit which started on 07 March 2022. 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 SACAA audited Comair following a spate of occurrences which posed safety risks by Kulula.com and BA Comair airlines. The Regulator 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.
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 cooperation and commitment of the Operator during this period signalled the seriousness in which the Operator took this matter and the openness displayed in the days leading up to this day. It is this collaboration that ensures that civil aviation safety remains a top priority in South Africa.
Comair has also issued the following statement:
“We’re pleased that the situation is finally resolved, following an immense effort over five days and nights to engage and work with the SACAA. After a thorough review of Comair’s documentation, the SACAA has lifted the precautionary suspension of Comair’s licence. Our focus is now to get our operations back to normal as quickly as possible so we can further assist our customers,” says Glenn Orsmond, Comair CEO.
The British Airways (operated by Comair) and kulula.com schedules will be restored in a phased manner and customers are advised to check the schedules on the airlines’ websites before coming to the airport. Customers with existing reservations will be contacted directly. Updates will also be posted on social media channels.
The SACAA findings concerned the level of evidential support of some management systems and procedures relating to quality assurance processes, the structuring and personnel in the safety department and documentation flow regarding repair confirmations.
No safety and security findings were made regarding either flight operations or maintenance.