South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for the country’s state-owned airlines to be privatised. The party made this known after the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) suspended SA Express’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) on Saturday for failing to comply with the applicable civil aviation regulations. DA’s Mazzone asserted:
“It is obvious that the only way to save both the reputations and actual existence of SAX and sister airline SAA is to privatise the failing state owned entity and completely overhaul the management of the airline.”
State-Owned Airlines Should Be Privatized- DA
Also, speaking via a statement, the aviation authority said,
“It is critical to note that this suspension is precautionary and taken in the interest of safety and preventing incidents that can be catastrophic. The suspension, which is in terms of Part 185 of the Civil Aviation Regulations, pertains to the operator’s AOC – N399D, S370D, I/N002, and I/S001. The suspension followed a “series of non-compliances” by SA Express and the SACAA’s dissatisfaction with the operator’s safety monitoring systems which were meant to monitor and address any safety deficiencies. The regulator also found the operator’s proposed corrective action plan inadequate as it did not satisfactorily address the findings raised.
The SACAA wishes to point out that recent inspections and audits on the airline’s operations have pointed to inefficient safety monitoring systems and some level of failure by the operator to satisfactorily address concerns raised by the regulator. The SACAA views the inefficiency of the safety monitoring systems in a serious light as it poses serious safety hazards and risks to the crew, passengers, and the public at large. For this reason, the regulator cannot allow the operator to continue with operations until such time that the identified safety concerns are adequately addressed.”
Speaking also, DA spokesperson public enterprises, Natasha Mazzone, said the SACAA did the right thing‚ adding that no airline should be allowed to fly to the skies if there was any safety risk for the crew‚ passengers.
“We have reiterated that this is not the fault of the pilots — this amounts to systematic failure by the airline’s management and the Department of Public Enterprises. The state-owned airlines are being run by inexperienced and unqualified management‚ many of whom are political appointments. Once again‚ South Africa is put second while the ANC puts itself first. When it comes to South African state-owned airlines‚ two wrongs certainly do not make a right. We therefore ask the SACAA to brief the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises on its findings‚ before SAX does the same. Minister of Public Enterprises‚ Ms Lynne Brown‚ should also accept responsibility for this mess and insist on the privatisation of our state-owned airlines.”
Following this suspension, the SACAA stated that SA Express will not continue with operations until such time that the identified safety concerns are adequately addressed. The SACAA however added it has been receiving full co-operation from SA Express and would provide any assistance possible, and within the regulator’s mandate, to ensure that the matter was resolved as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, SA Express says all flights are back on schedule this morning following the 42-hour suspension. The suspension was lifted on Sunday afternoon.