SA Airlink incident a disappointment

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has expressed disappointment at the incident involving an SA Airlink aircraft.

On Wednesday, at the same time the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) was conducting an audit of the carriers operations, an SA Airlink aircraft aborted take-off due to low oil pressure and smoke coming out of the left-hand engine.

"We must express our grave disappointment at the latest incident involving SA Airlink. We also note with regret that this incident is similar in nature to the one that occurred in Durban in September 2009, resulting in one fatality," said Ndebele on Thursday.

Following the incident, SACAA grounded 14 of the carrier's aircraft by suspending their airworthiness certificates.

Ndebele expressed his support at the swift action taken by SACAA.

"We will not allow the operations of any airline in our airspace to place in danger the lives of our people. When and where we find these near misses, it is our responsibility to act swiftly and to act in concert to safeguard the safety of our commuters and all stakeholders," said Ndebele.

He reiterated that the commercial airline industry in South Africa ranked among the safest in the world.

"We remain interested in developments around Airlink and we will monitor progress closely. We hope that their current challenges will be addressed in the interest of all - the airline, the passenger and the country," said Ndebele.