The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has reinstated South African Express’ Air Operator Certificate (AOC), clearing the airline for the resumption of operations.
This development comes just over a month after the regional airline, based in South Africa, had managed to get its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approval successfully reinstated by the SACAA. With these two crucial certificates successfully reinstated, this means that SA Express can now conduct scheduled commercial operations as an airline.
In addition to successfully reinstating its AOC and AMO certificates, South African Express has also managed to get Certificates of Airworthiness for two of its aircraft. As such, the airline is in the meantime permitted to operate with only two of its aircraft.
On 24 May 2018, the SACAA suspended SA Express’s AOC and AMO approvals as well as the Certificates of Airworthiness (CoA) for nine of the twenty-one aircraft on the operator’s books.
The decision to revoke SA Express permits came after the SACAA had conducted an audit at the airline and its maintenance organisation, which uncovered severe cases of non-compliance that posed serious safety risks.
In order to be allowed to operate as an airline again, SA Express had to undertake recertification processes for both the AOC and AMO approvals. The airline also had to ensure that all aircraft earmarked for operations had a Certificate of Airworthiness.
The AMO and AOC certification process are similar, whereby they both follow a five-phase procedure. In order for a Certificate of Airworthiness to be issued, the aircraft must first be inspected by SACAA officials.
Profitability must be balanced with compliance
“A key message to all operators and aviation personnel is that financial sustainability must always be carefully balanced with the need to uphold, at all times, acceptable levels of aviation safety and security. If the scale is heavily tilted towards one end, the air transport network as we all know it today, will cease to exist,” cautions Ms Poppy Khoza, who leads the SACAA as Director of Civil Aviation.