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CemAir can take to the skies again - under certain conditions

Dec 20 2018 06:29
Fin24

There is a strong perception among employees of CemAir that the airline is being targeted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority SACAA, CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The senior management certainly hope that this is not true, but only time will tell once the true basis for the SACAA's actions are unravelled," he said.

Last week the SACAA suspended CemAir's Air Operation Certificate (AOC), resulting in the airline being grounded.

According to the SACAA, reason for the grounding was "severe non-compliance or non-conformance that poses a very serious safety risk to the public and necessitates is the reason for the grounding".

The SACAA also said CemAir had not produced an appropriately qualified person for a critical position, per the Civil Aviation Regulations.

Issue 'resolved'

"The primary basis upon which the suspension was issued was an alleged safety compromise of our airline. The other reason was that the SACAA alleged that CemAir did not have a Responsible Person Flight Operations (RPFO)," said Van der Molen.

"Despite having requested the details of our alleged safety contraventions, we were given none. As such we resolved to approach a High Court for and interdict to lift the suspension on an urgent basis."

According to Van der Molen, the RPFO issue was resolved when CemAir pointed out to the SACAA that the airline had appointed a suitable RPFO with effect from 7 November 2018.

In its court papers, CemAir stated that it adopts "a far more conservative approach to safety than the standard set by the SACAA". For instance, while it is not compulsory, in 2015 CemAir registered and implemented a programme of enhanced safety called IOSA (IATA Operating Safety Audit), it said. This is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines and recognised internationally.

Regarding the weight safety issue raised, the SACAA claimed that CemAir had manipulated passenger weight in order to disguise its alleged overloading.

CemAir argued in court that SACAA officials had overlooked a regulation which provides that an airline may deduct 6kg from the standard passenger mass where there is no hand luggage or where it is accounted for separately. According to CemAir, the aircraft in question does not have an overhead stowage compartment. It carries only 19 passengers and there is no space for any cabin luggage.

CemAir 'will comply'

On Tuesday the SACAA said in a statement that CemAir "will finally comply with its operating certificates conditions, paving the way for the airline to operate within approved safety requirements".

The parties reached a settlement, which was made an order of the court. The court granted an interim order pending final determination of an appeal to be lodged by CemAir to the director of civil aviation. Suspension of CemAir's Air Operating Certificates was temporarily lifted with conditions.

CemAir was called upon to develop a procedure for monitoring and accounting for undeclared hand luggage and submit it to the SACAA for approval on December 19, 2018. The airline must also immediately comply with the weight and balance requirement and stop deducting kilogram allowances from passengers until a weight plan is approved by the SACAA.

sacaa  |  cemair  |  airlines  |  aviation
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