A lockdown has been imposed on Comair's South African fleet

 A lockdown has been imposed on Comair's South African fleet.


CAPE TOWN, March 13 (Reuters) - Comair's aircraft were grounded permanently on Sunday, claiming that the airline had not addressed safety concerns adequately, in a move that also affects passengers of low-cost airline Kulula and British Airways.

Comair's operator certificate has been declared pending a 24-hour delay, according to a spokesperson for the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).The suspension had to take place on Sunday, but Comair has not addressed all the necessary safety concerns, according to the SACAA.

"We communicated to them (Comair) that their air operator certificate has been permanently suspended until they complete all of the findings," said SACAA's spokesperson, Phindiwe Gwebu, effectively grounding the company's Boeing aircraft fleet. Comair said it was unsatisfied with when it would begin flying again after working through the night to provide documentation to the SACAA following a review of certain policies, systems, and procedures.

"This is a huge blow to our customers, employees, and the flying public as it effectively takes 40% of the capacity out of the market," Glenn Orsmond, Comair's chief executive said in a statement. "If the suspension continues for any time, the implications for the aviation industry and the country are significant," says the author.

Comair had encountered safety difficulties in the past month, including "engine failures, engine failure, and landing gear failures." SACAA said it had discovered three "level 1" findings, which had posed an immediate danger. Comair, which flys from South Africa under the British Airways livery as part of a licence agreement, had to address before flying again. Alongside flying BA planes, Comair also operates the Kulula brand.

Comair had planned to resume its schedule by 12 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Sunday, under the supervision of the SACAA. "We will do everything we can to accommodate customers affected by the suspension of other flights, prioritizing vulnerable customers and those who most urgently needed to travel," Comair said.

 A lockdown has been imposed on Comair's South African fleet.




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