JOHANNESBURG - The South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) has temporarily withdrawn the Certificate of Airworthiness privileges for 12 CemAir aircrafts after they were cleared airworthy by "unqualified personnel".
In a statement released on Friday Sacaa said the suspension became effective at 6am on February 2.
"This withdrawal of the Certificate of Airworthiness privileges is precautionary and temporary; meaning that it will automatically expire after 24 hours at 5am on Saturday, 3 February 2018.
"The decision to withdraw CoA privileges follows the discovery during an audit by Sacaa inspectors that some of the aircraft that were serviced at CemAir’s Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) were released back to service or cleared as airworthy by unqualified personnel," Sacca said.
CemAir confirmed that its aircrafts have been clipped "due to a paperwork discrepancy identified by the Sacaa in the annual audit of the CemAir AMO (aircraft maintenance organisation)".
"CemAir is working with the Sacaa to resolve the issue as expeditiously as possible. The airline is making alternate arrangements for passengers on its flights on Friday, 2 February 2018," the company said in a statement.
The aviation authority said CemAir's conduct posed danger for crew members and passengers.
"The operator is required to submit proof of compliance before the expiry of the prescribed 24 hours or to make a representation and state reasons as to why the relevant aircraft should not be grounded in line with the prescripts outlined in the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act No. 13 of 2009).
"Thus far, the SACAA has received full cooperation from CemAir and will continue to provide any assistance possible to the operator, and within the Regulator’s mandate, in order to ensure that the matter is resolved as soon as possible," Sacca said.
The aviation authority said it was important to note that decisions such as suspending an aircraft from flying were not taken lightly and were in the interests of ensuring that the operator’s safety systems were beyond reproach, and can offer an acceptable level of safety.
CemAir is a privately owned airline based at OR Tambo International Airport with routes to Bloemfontein, George, Cape Town, Hoedspruit, Margate, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth and Sishen.