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On 18 January, SAA took a decision to cancel flights between the two cities after the audit process conducted at the Chileka International Airport in Blantyre confirmed that the airport was not fully compliant with minimum standards required for SAA to operate in line with its licensing conditions.
“We took steps immediately after we suspended operations to Blantyre and dispatched personnel from our head office to augment our staff in Blantyre to attend to the audit findings to ensure compliance with our licensing conditions,” said SAA Spokesperson, Tlali Tlali.
SAA put together a Corrective Action Plan and submitted it for consideration by its regulator, South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).
The airline, working together with the Malawian authorities as well as stakeholders such as the Malawian Ministry of Transport and the local municipality in Blantyre, implemented the required interventions to return the airport to expected levels for safe operations.
On Thursday, SAA notified SACAA that the remedial interventions have been implemented.
“We now await SACAA inspection of the airport and demonstration to them that we have successfully implemented required interventions as per our corrective action plan. Until measures put in place meet the satisfaction of SACAA, our operations between Johannesburg and Blantyre will remain suspended,” explained Tlali.
SAA operates a three weekly service between Johannesburg and Blantyre (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays).
“We understand that the inspection will take place next week Wednesday and we are optimistic that the regulator will be satisfied with the measures implemented. We would like to apologise to our passengers and customers for the inconvenience caused and trust that they will appreciate that the decisions to suspend flights and ensure compliance, were taken in the interests of safety for all,” concluded Tlali.
SAA will confirm the date for the reinstatement of the service SACAA has granted permission to resume flights. It is anticipated that flights will resume on Saturday, 2 February 2019.