Privately-owned and independent regional airline Airlink has suspended its Polokwane services with immediate effect owing to the Polokwane airport being de-categorised to CAT2 on April 7, which is below the minimum level required for scheduled commercial air services.
Airlink, in a statement, notes that the current status of the airport presents as an operational safety concern and that it would be illegal to operate scheduled services at the airport under the new categorisation.
“It is regrettable that the airport did not advise Airlink of the impending threat of de-categorisation and its inability to provide the minimum level of emergency services required to maintain its aerodrome licence category,” Airlink states.
The airline has explored all options including the possibility of operating at the Pietersburg Civil aerodrome, which also offers no rescue firefighting services and therefore is unable to accept scheduled commercial flights.
Airlink management state that it will work with Polokwane airport management to establish when the airport will address its non-compliances and regain the minimum category required to accommodate scheduled commercial air services.
At this stage, Airlink says it is unable to ascertain whether the Polokwane airport will meet the minimum requirements for future services. “Customers will be contacted directly, and an update will be provided as soon as Airlink receives more information from the Polokwane airport,” Airlink states.
Airlink apologises to its customers for any inconvenience caused by the suspension, and advises customers holding confirmed tickets on the cancelled flights to contact their booking agent, tour operator or Airlink reservations for refunds.