South African Airways Recalls Planes for Compliance Checks

Jacqueline Mackenzie and Paul Vecchiatto

(Bloomberg) -- Four airlines operating in South Africa were forced to delay flights and ground some planes after a local regulator ordered checks following inspections of a technical and maintenance provider.

State-owned South African Airways and its low-cost unit Mango were affected, as was Comair Ltd., which operates Kulula and British Airways domestically, according to statements on Tuesday. Both Airbus SE and Boeing Co. jets were involved in the disruption, according to flight-tracking websites.

South African Airways said it will operate an amended flight schedule Tuesday for compliance checks in line with Civil Aviation Authority requirements. The decision followed an oversight inspection conducted by the regulator at South African Airways Technical, which oversees the maintenance for a number of carriers including SAA and Comair.

“SAA Technical has since submitted a corrective action plan aimed at addressing the irregularities,” the transport ministry said in a statement. The move bythe CAA was an act of precaution, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula told reporters, declining to be more specific.

‘Airworthiness’

“We can confirm that four of the affected aircraft have been released back into service and we are expecting the full fleet to be back in operation by tomorrow morning,” Comair said in a statement.

Kutlwano Mtyeku, a spokesman for Airports Company South Africa, wasn’t immediately able to comment.

“The delays and cancellations experienced this morning were precautionary measures taken by the affected airlines in order to ensure that no aircraft takes to the skies without absolute certainty as to its airworthiness,” the transport ministry said.

(Updates with transport ministry comment in fourth paragraph)

--With assistance from Renee Bonorchis and Felix Njini.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jacqueline Mackenzie in Johannesburg at jmackenzie9@bloomberg.net;Paul Vecchiatto in Cape Town at pvecchiatto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Amogelang Mbatha at ambatha@bloomberg.net, John Bowker

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