State-owned Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) issued a clarification and assurance on Thursday regarding operational safety at their airports. This followed reports that some of their airports had been or would be closed due to the need to recertify their instrument landing systems (ILS).
While confirming that some ILS did need to be recertified, Acsa assured that its airports were open and functioning safely. It noted that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) had confirmed this in a separate statement.
“Airports Company South Africa wishes to emphasise that safety is of paramount importance,” it affirmed in its statement. “As stated by SACAA, aircraft can still land without an ILS in operation because there are other flight procedures that can be used. However, visibility on the runway must be determined first. Flying does not stop in the absence of an instrument landing system and there is no need to close any airport.”
Acsa reported that the ILS recertification issue had affected four airports, including its three most important ones, namely Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. The fourth airport affected was George Airport.
The company elucidated that OR Tambo International had four ILS, of which two had been switched off because their certification had lapsed. Cape Town had two ILS, which had both been switched off on Thursday because of the lapsing of their certification. King Shaka International and George also had two ILS each and again they had all been turned off because their certification had lapsed.
“The process for some ILS recertifications has been delayed because the service provider appointed by SACAA has been hampered by global lockdown regulations and the need to service its equipment,” explained Acsa. “SACAA has advised that its service provider’s aircraft is expected to arrive in South Africa by the end of this week and that the calibration programme will prioritise airports where ILS’s have been switched off.”