State-owned regional airline SA Express announced on Thursday that its certification as an aircraft maintenance organisation (AMO) had been reinstated by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) on June 22. “Since then SA Express has undergone a stringent and rigorous process to meet the regulator’s high standards,” stated the airline in its media statement.
SA Express had both its AMO and Air Operators Certificate (AOC) suspended by Sacaa in late May, grounding the airline. These actions were taken because an audit of SA Express undertaken by the Authority had “uncovered severe cases of non-compliance that pose serious safety risks”, in the words of Sacaa’s statement at the time.
SA Express reported that Sacaa had accepted all its remedial action plans regarding its areas of non-compliance. The airline was aided by a Ministerial Intervention Team (appointed by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan) which, with the company’s new board and its employees, formed a group which worked hard to implement the Sacca-approved action plans.
“The SA Express board, Ministerial intervention team, together with loyal staff have made very significant progress to return the airline to full operation in the very near future,” affirmed Gordhan on Wednesday. He made these comments following a briefing he had received from the new board, which he had appointed, coincidently, on the same day the airline was grounded – May 24.
Regarding the AOC, Thursday also marked the start of the fifth and final phase of the Sacaa process to re-certify the airline. Once the AOC had been reinstated, SA Express would be able to resume safe operations and again convey passengers.
“SA Express wishes to assure the public and our customers that we have focused intensely on addressing the root causes that led to our grounding and have now restructured the internal processes that allowed this incident to occur in the first place,” it said in its statement. SA Express operates a fleet composed entirely of twin-engined aircraft by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, made up of both regional jet and turboprop airliners.