SAA stopped from fetching COVID-19 vaccines

South African Airways was stopped by the SA Civil Aviation Authority from flying to Brussels on Sunday to fetch the first batch of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines. eNCA's Heidi Giokos reports. Courtesy of #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - South African Airways (SAA) was unable to fly to Brussels on Sunday to fetch the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The decision is reportedly due to the risk measures not being adequate enough or acceptable with global aviation standards.

TUI charter flights flew the vaccine into the country late on Tuesday night.

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The main concern that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) had, and which led to a series of discussions with SAA, was in relation to the recency of the national carrier's flight deck crew.

SAA managed to get the selected flight crew to attend the mandatory recency training. SAA was granted exemption on Tuesday, according to SACAA.

The Department of Public Enterprises said it will not comment on the matter, meanwhile, the SAA Business Rescue Practitioners say they are aware that the flight was stopped.

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"Consistent with the provisions of [the] legislation, the Civil Aviation Regulations, any operator can apply for an exemption and/or alternate means of compliance," said Director of Civil Aviation (CEO) at SACAA Poppy Khoza.

"South African Airways did contact the SACAA requesting for an exemption particularly relating to the aircrew.

"An exemption which, when we evaluated, there were some gaps and of course by its nature any exemption become a process between the regulator and the operator.

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"So there were ongoing conversations between us as the Civil Aviation Authority and the operator (SAA) in terms of our expectations as per the regulations in order for us to approve and/or decline the exemption.

"I must indicate that the exemption was subsequently granted after SAA had demonstrated compliance with legislation, we subsequently did approve that exemption on 16 February [Tuesday]."


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