CemAir behaviour ‘bizarre’ – SA Civil Aviation Authority

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has suspended CemAir’s operations again, due to concerns around airworthiness of the airline’s fleet.

The grounding came into effect on Friday, January 11, at 17h00. “The suspension was necessitated by SACAA’s concerns over the systemic failure of the airline’s maintenance controls,” SACAA said in a statement. “In a nutshell, the most recent annual renewal audit revealed CemAir’s inability to prove the continued airworthiness of its fleet.”

 Tourism Update understands that, following the temporary lifting of the previous suspension by the High Court on December 20, SACAA was granted approval to continue with the its renewal audit. During this audit 11 findings were made, five of which were classified as Level 1 findings. SACCA’s statement confirms that CemAir has provided an acceptable Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for 10 of the findings.

The statement continues: “On 26 December 2018, the SACAA, and in the interests of aviation safety, grounded eight (8) of the airline’s aircraft with immediate effect. Between 28 December 2018 and 11 January 2019 there were numerous interactions between the operator and the regulator. In between, the SACAA also visited CemAir operations in order to gather evidence and confirm that the continued airworthiness finding is addressed satisfactorily. These follow-up inspection exercises did not meet the regulators’ expectations and the necessary evidence could not be produced by the operator.”

SACAA also claims that during the audit it was found that an aircraft manufacturer had provided CemAir with an assessment of its aircraft maintenance schedule. This included findings and recommendations on what the airline had to do in order to bring its maintenance status up to standard. According to SACAA, this was not done: “…worryingly the operator could not produce sufficient evidence to authenticate that all recommendations were fully implemented,” SACAA said. “Ignoring manufacturers’ recommendations is not only bizarre but is also a very serious and dangerous omission that should be avoided at all costs by any licence holder.”

As a result of this, SACAA took the decision to immediately suspend CemAir’s Part 121 and 135 Air Operator Certificates.

At the time of publication, CemAir could not be reached for comment.

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