https://southcoastherald.co.za/267146/u ... ns-ground/
UPDATE: Still no clearance for CemAir fleet
The airlines corrective action plans were found to ‘not adequately address’ the findings outlined in the audit report.
4 hours ago
Operations at CemAir airline’s are still suspended and has been so since February 2.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has confirmed that the 12 aircraft operated by the airline remain grounded, and the suspension of CemAir’s Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) has not been lifted.
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Kabelo Ledwaba spokesman for SACAA confirmed that they have thus far received satisfactory cooperation from the operator, and have had several meetings with CemAir representatives.”In line with expectations, the operator has also developed and submitted corrective action plans. Upon review by SACAA, the initial corrective action plans were unfortunately found not to adequately address all the findings outlined in the audit report. As a result, the operator had to make several revisions,” he said.
“SACAA is always wary of falling into the trap of regulating the civil aviation industry via the media. Having said that, it is similarly important to ensure that harmful and illusory statements are corrected. SACAA has noted, with serious concern, media reports with inaccurate statements, some of which are comments attributed to CemAir’s chief executive officer. SACAA wishes to correct these inaccuracies.
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“The false reports that suggests that SACAA’s action against CemAir is a “sinister motive” propelled and instigated by external parties, and CemAir’s competitor, is ludicrous and insulting. It speaks volumes about those behind the utterances; and mocks the efforts of all law-abiding operators and license-holders who believe in superior airmanship and acknowledge that safety supersedes everything in aviation.
“It is perplexing to say the least that when SACAA takes similar action against other operators there is no talk of sinister motive. A look at the history of corrective measures taken thus far clearly demonstrates that we take action without any form of bias or favoritism. Our actions are all about maintaining safety and security. If you are an operator, whether private or state-owned, or even foreign owned, and are threatening the lives of your crew, passengers, and the public by not adhering to the set global and known standards; rest assured, we will not hesitate to take immediate action.
“There are also reports of an alleged affidavit that “purports that the regulator is out to ‘nail’ this particular operator”. The alleged affidavit remains suspiciously elusive as we are yet to receive it. This is despite SACAA meeting with CemAir representatives on several occasions.
“Grounding or suspension of permits is the very last and most severe measure that the SACAA can take when there is clear civil aviation safety and security risks. It is not the type of decision that is taken lightly, or taken without compelling reasons. The upholding of unquestionable levels of aviation safety and security is a must and not a nice-to-have. It is all about preserving lives.
“It was therefore disheartening to read reports that suggest that CemAir refers to the comprehensive findings outlined in the audit safety report as a “mere paperwork discrepancy” whilst its corrective action plan has acknowledged the existence and root cause of the deficiencies. Surely, if indeed that was the case, the matter would have taken a few hours, and not weeks, to resolve by “producing the right paperwork”. As such, any talk of a “mere paperwork discrepancy” is an ill-advised public relations exercise.
“It is important to note that SACAA does not change the rules as we go. Operators are in fact audited using their very own Manual of Procedures amongst other measures. There is therefore no “separate” or “deeper” audit against CemAir that is linked to the current grounding of their 12 aircraft or suspension of their AMO permit/approval,” said Mr Ledwaba.
Hibiscus Coast Municipality mayor Cynthia Mqwebu and CemAir CEO and owner, Miles van der Molen. (File photo)
What SACAA is expected to do is:
a) To conduct a thorough review of the evidence provided by the operator as part of the closing of the findings.
b) To conduct a physical inspection, upon presentation by the operator, of the aircraft to confirm if they are airworthy and can be returned to service.
c) Review the operator’s AMO re-certification package, which has since been found by the SACAA to be satisfactory.
As a result of satisfaction with the re-certification application package, a team of SACAA inspectors has commenced with the certification process which comprises the following four phases:
1. Formal Application
2. Document Evaluation
3. Demonstration Phase
“While SACAA notes the progress made by the operator in relation to the AMO re-certification process, this does not change the current status; meaning that CemAir’s AMO approval remains suspended pursuant to a successful completion of the re-certification process.”
The aviation authority also mentioned that it is important to note that no grounding is ever a surprise to an operator. This is because immediately upon discovery of a non-compliance or deficiency, and whilst still at the premises of the operator and on completion of an audit, SACAA holds a closing meeting with the operator to, among others, indicate the non-compliance or deficiency or findings raised and propose ways to close those findings.
“As such, the ensuing notification letter, which at times would entail details around suspension of privileges, is a mere formality as the operator would already know what they need to do to close the finding. At times some operators are able to close the non-compliance or deficiency or findings within a matter of hours or days. Moreover, and being cognisant of the nature of aviation and the need to always be operational, SACAA always makes a team immediately available to work with the operator to close the findings.
“The speed at which non-compliance or deficiency or findings are closed, is therefore largely depended on the cooperation of the operator and the speed at which they provide satisfactory evidence or avail affected facilities or aircraft for inspection by SACAA. Therefore, anyone or an operator that suggests that a grounding came as a surprise is simply employing duplicitous tactics and are unwilling to acknowledge their shortcomings.
“The SACAA once again, reconfirms its unwavering commitment to help the operator, in whatever way legally possible, to resolve the findings raised.”