Safety first: Mbalula appeals for calm following grounding of planes

Fikile Mbalula says there's no total shutdown or crisis, reinforcing that planes have been grounded as a precaution.

CAPE TOWN - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says the South African Airways Technical team has drawn up a corrective plan to deal with irregularities that resulted in delays and cancellations on Tuesday.

Mbalula appealed for calm at a news conference.

"We appeal to the public to be patient and be on the lookout for updates from their airlines where there may be delays and cancellations," Mbalula said.

WATCH: Mbalula addresses flight delays, grounding of planes

"Safety of our people is paramount." 

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said it had inspected a number of aircraft at SAA Technical and had issued a prohibition order until the faults it had found had been fixed.

It did not disclose what the faults were or which aircraft type was affected, citing confidentiality agreements.

READ: SAA, Comair flights grounded

SAA Technical does maintenance for SAA, its subsidiary Mango Airlines and British Airways franchise partner Comair, which also operates under the kulula.com brand.

The regulator said it had accepted a corrective action plan from SAA's maintenance unit and that SAA and Comair's decision to "self-ground" some aircraft was a precautionary measure.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said no international flights had been affected. SAA mainly operates Airbus aircraft on its passenger routes, while subsidiary Mango Airlines operates Boeing aircraft, he said.

READ: No need to panic, says SAA

Mango Airlines said there would be some delays on flights throughout Tuesday.

Comair said "corrective action" was needed on some of its aircraft and that it expected its full fleet to be back in operation by Wednesday.

At 2pm, kulula.com's website showed that five domestic flights on Tuesday afternoon had been rescheduled, one under the kulula.com brand and four under the British Airways name.

READ: Some planes back in the air following grounding

Flights earlier in the day were also rescheduled.

Comair, whose share price fell 3.4 percent on Tuesday, operates Boeing aircraft.

It was chaos at major South African airports with passengers left stranded due to flight delays or outright cancellations.

Satawu's Nelson Lamityi comments on flight delays.

Source
Reuters