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'Our planes are safe': SAA assures Civil Aviation Authority

The South African Civil Aviation Authority is conducting spot checks on SAA aircraft during the ongoing strike. File photo
The South African Civil Aviation Authority is conducting spot checks on SAA aircraft during the ongoing strike. File photo
Image: Gallo Images / The Times / Alon Skuy

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) says it is conducting spot checks on SAA aircraft following claims by unions that the airline was using inexperienced personnel during the ongoing strike.

Workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) are demanding an 8% salary increase. The strike entered its fifth day on Tuesday.

Numsa at the weekend cautioned passengers against taking SAA flights.

“Learners with no experience and temporary technicians are being deployed to fly on SAA aircraft without having relevant experience in maintenance and repairs,” the union alleged.

SAA strongly denied the allegations, saying the airline would never put passengers and its reputation at risk.

The aviation authority said it had noted with “concern” the statements made by Numsa.

The Sacaa said SAA had provided it with contingency plans before the strike commenced, and was assured the airline would take all necessary care to uphold civil aviation safety and security.

“The Sacaa is responsible for ensuring continued compliance with applicable civil aviation regulations by all operators. To this end, since the strike started, the regulator is in constant contact with SAA to ensure the safety of passengers and crew is not compromised,” said spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu.

“Following the airline’s decision to operate a limited number of international flights, the airline assured Sacaa that all flights are being operated by qualified cabin and flight crew and that all technicians attending to aircraft are appropriately licensed and rated,” Gwebu said.

Spot checks were being conducted.

"The regulator would also like to implore Numsa to come forward with credible information that supports their statements," said Gwebu.

"Sacaa wishes to assure the public that we take our mandate of regulating civil aviation safety and security seriously, and in no circumstances will we knowingly allow non-compliance to continue by any operator.

"If there are practices that are irregular and non-compliant with legislation, Sacaa will not hesitate."


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