South African regional carrier SA Express is to begin a staged return to services from Aug. 23, three months after the country’s regulator barred it from flying.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) suspended both the company’s air operator’s certificate (AOC) and aircraft maintenance organization (AMO) authorization May 24 after an audit of the carrier uncovered what the regulator described as “severe cases of non-compliance that pose serious safety risks.”
The AMO situation meant that the airline had to apply to have all its aircraft certificates of airworthiness individually revalidated.
The state-owned airline has been working since May to restore the necessary authorizations to resume scheduled services. In the interim, other South African carriers have sought to fill the void by stepping up their own services on SA Express routes.
In a statement posted on SA Express’s website, acting CEO Siza Mzimela said that the return to flying followed the recent reinstatement of the company’s AOC and AMO. Mzimela was appointed Aug. 1. She was CEO of the airline from 2003-10, then held the CEO’s post at South African Airways for two years. She was most recently executive chairperson at South African aviation services provider, Blue Crane Aviation.
SA Express had received certificates of airworthiness for an initial batch of its aircraft, she added, “with the remaining fleet expected to be given the green light soon.” So far, the company says “most” of an initial batch of 11 aircraft has been recertified. The company’s total fleet consists of 10 Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets, four larger CRJ700s and 10 Bombardier Q400 turboprops.
The initial group of aircraft being returned to service would allow the company “to prudently and incrementally reintroduce our flights as from Aug.23,” Mzimela said.