There is gridlock at airports across South Africa, as four major airlines have been affected by technical issues. There are delays, alterations and cancelled flights on the country’s busiest airports.
Daily Afrika has learnt that the flights were delayed and some planes were grounded after inspections were carried out overnight.
State-owned South African Airways and Mango were affected as were Comair, which operates Kulula and British Airways domestically, according to statements. It’s not routine for airlines in South Africa to suffer simultaneous groundings, but it’s not yet clear whether passenger safety has been at risk or what the technical issues involve.
South African Airways said it will operate an amended flight schedule Tuesday for compliance checks in line with South African Civil Aviation Authority requirements. The decision followed an oversight inspection conducted by the authority at South African Airways Technical, which oversees the maintenance for a number of carriers, according to the airline.
SAA did a public service announcement on its Twitter page:
SAA PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT❗️ pic.twitter.com/Bp7D5iSoLx
— SAA – South Africa (@flysaa) October 22, 2019
Some flights will operate later than usual and four domestic flights have been cancelled, but the airline will combine flights and deploy bigger aircraft to accommodate affected passengers, it said.
“Yesterday evening, the South African Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice related to irregular findings picked up during a recent audit of our maintenance and technical service provider, South African Airways Technical,” Comair said in a separate statement.
“At of 10:15 this morning a third of Comair’s services have been affected due to the notice received from the SACAA,” said Comair in a later statement.
“We are continuously updating our contingency plans and communicating with our customers by SMS, however, to avoid unnecessary frustration, customers can check revised departure times on kulula.com, ba.com or Comair.co.za …We are actively working with SAAT and SACAA to find a speedy solution.”
Kutlwano Mtyeku, a spokesman for Airports Company South Africa, wasn’t immediately able to comment.
Furthermore, it was disclosed at the beginning of October that a Mango Airlines flight had gone into a “mid-air nosedive”, due to its supplier attaching faulty parts to certain aircrafts. The criminal negligence is still being looked into, and Tuesday’s flight chaos is thought to be as a result of the investigation’s scope widening. Mango, along with Comair and SAA, are also impacted by the SAAT’s safety measures today:
“As safety is our primary concern, we were working with SAA Technical throughout the night to rectify these findings and are confident that we will have aircraft that are safe
and ready for service during the course of today. However, as the process is not yet concluded, this means some delays will be experienced throughout the day.”
“Mango Airlines has activated contingency plans in order to minimise disruption during the course of today and ensure our Guests reach their destinations safely. We will continue to update affected Guests via SMS and will publish updated schedules on our social media platforms.”- Mango Airlines statement.
@FlyMangoSA Mango apologizes for a delay on flight JE245.The estimated time of departure is 11:13. Check-in counters will close at 10:33. why has it been delayed?
— Sinomtha Sogoni (@cnosnow1) October 22, 2019