PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - Airline operator CemAir, which has regular flights in and out of among others Plettenberg Bay, has been grounded for the second time this year following its air operator certificates having been suspended.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) announced on Thursday that CemAir may no longer operate as an airline or air operator or fly any of its 21 aircraft.
SACAA spokesman Kabelo Ledwaba said this followed a decision by the authority to suspend two of Cemair’s Air Operator Certificates (AOC) with effect from Thursday at 15:30.
“In addition the SACAA’s audit team has also recommended to the director of the authority to revoke CemAir’s AOCs,” Ledwaba said.
Ledwaba added the decision followed a thorough review of CemAir’s correction action plan which sought to address the initial findings unveiled during the annual renewal audit conducted this week.
“The remedial actions by CemAir were found to be unsatisfactory and did not adequately address the findings that were initially raised.”
Ledwaba added that showed that CemAir had been operating some aircraft outside of permissible loading limits, including weight and balance. “This means that the weights of the passengers and baggage declared by the flight crew were not the same with those recorded by the service provider contracted by CemAir.
“The SACAA also noted with concern that despite being issued with a prohibition order, CemAir knowingly continued to fly their aircraft in contravention of the applicable regulatory prescripts. This constitutes a material contravention that threatens aviation safety, and shows a total disregard for the role and responsibilities of the regulator. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable and intolerable.”
Ledwaba said these “myriad of identified non-compliances” brought to the fore the fact that the actions and conduct of the operator posed serious and immediate threat to safety. “As such, if the SACAA does not take immediate action to stop the misconduct, it would inadvertently abandon its role as mandated by the Department of Transport on behalf of the people of South Africa and the global aviation community.”
In the meantime CemAir responded in a statement it had made a representation to the SACAA and awaited feedback.
“We adamantly reject the reasons offered by the CAA for their decision. We are an airline deeply committed to safety and excellence and have offered multiple reasonable solutions to the CAA’s stated concerns, all of which have been rejected, an indication of a malicious intent by the CAA to bring CemAir to its knees by grounding it unnecessarily at peak season,” the airline said in a statement on Friday morning.
They added that at this stage, ther “hands are tied”. “We cannot offer alternative solutions to our customers. As such we advise you to book an alternative journey to your destinations and we will advise at the soonest possible time about a refund process for your booking with CemAir.”
CemAir urged passengers to contact its call centre on 0861 236 247 for further information.
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