South African Aircraze (SAA) has announced an extended schedule as part of interventions to sustain its mismanaged little sister ‘airline’, the South African Express’ network.
This follows Thursday’s announcement by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to suspend South African Express’s Air Operators Certificate and the Certificates of Airworthiness (CoA) of nine of the 21 aircraft being operated by the airline. The decision effectively means that as of 24 May, SA Express can no longer continue to operate as an airline (not that it really did in the past -Ed.).
SAA announced a replacement capacity schedule for a year with partner airlines so as to support SA Express passengers.
“The intervention comes after the suspension of SA Express operations by the SACAA… The year-long schedule brings travel certainty and choice for customers who may want to travel from 29 May 2018 until 28 May 2019,” said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.
Tlali said through collaborative efforts with partner airlines namely SAA, SA Airlink and Mango Airlines, the national carrier was pleased to offer customers a year-long schedule intended to ensure business continuity.
“We are confident that the capacity we have deployed will sustain the network operated by SA Express until it is reinstated into service by the regulator. We trust that the measures introduced provide more clarity on the capacity and sustainability of the relief schedule during the suspension of SA Express services,” he said.
The national carrier and its partners will continue to monitor the network and performance during this period. “Our official communication channels will carry updates on the status of the flights on an ongoing basis,” he said.
Customers can direct their enquiries to the toll free number: 0800 214 774 (6am to 11:59pm SA Time), internationally on +27 11 978 6699. Customers can also access the SAA website on www.flysaa.com, Twitter on: @flysaa – https://twitter.com/flysaa and a second customer service on @flysaa_care – https://twitter.com/flysaa_care .
Customers can also access the SAA Facebook page on www.facebook.com/flysaa .
In order to be able to operate, SA Express will have to reapply and be issued with the relevant approvals (an air operating certificate), and an approval for the aircraft maintenance organisation, and certificates of airworthiness for the grounded aircraft.
The decision to suspend SA Express is based on the audit findings by the CAA, which, among other things, relate to safety management processes.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said SA Express Airways remains a critical player in the economy in connecting smaller towns to the major economic hubs. “An urgent recovery of the airlines is therefore critical to minimise the impact,” he said in his reaction to the news last week.