FlySafair voluntarily removes one aircraft from service

After second flight is diverted to an alternative airport.
The airline does not expect any interruptions to its regular services. Image: Supplied
FlySafair has taken the decision to investigate a technical error on one of its aircraft that resulted in two flight diversions in the past two weeks.

On both occasions, the aircraft departed from East London for Cape Town and had to be diverted to Gqeberha.

FlySafair says that during both flights, the captain was alerted to an indication error from a small component on the wing after departure and followed safety protocol by landing in Gqeberha rather than continuing on to Cape Town.

During the first incident, on March 30, the technicians “cycled through a round of checks and the indication was found to be a false warning”.

After the second incident, on Tuesday (April 5), the airline decided to ground the aircraft in order to conduct more comprehensive checks.

Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair, says the faults involved a reading from the aircraft’s stem cell, which “was incorrect and happens quite often as it is very sensitive”.

Policy to ‘act conservatively’

“It’s never ideal to divert an aircraft because it delays customers and results in a number of costs for the airline, but it’s our policy to always act conservatively when it comes to any possible safety concerns.”

Gordon says that while the plane landed precautionarily during the first incident and was back in the air after an hour-long inspection, the second incident raised concern and led to the decision to ground the aircraft for further evaluation.

The airline says in a media statement that its maintenance team is working in conjunction with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) – which supports its decision to ground the aircraft – to “determine the root cause of the indication light in order to be able to release the aircraft back into service”.

FlySafair maintains its own aircraft and has had a longstanding relationship with aircraft manufacturer Boeing since the early 1980s.

“Despite the pressure experienced by the airline industry over the last two years, FlySafair has retained all its maintenance staff, a key factor in its plans for business growth,” it says.

“The airline regards this as a top priority and an investigation into the cause of the technical issue is ongoing.

“No interruptions to regular services are expected,” it adds.

Ahead of the Easter weekend, Gordon says: “There are no extra precautions we can implement [at FlySafair] because we do everything that is precautionary in every sense.”

FlySafair’s move comes less than a month after the suspension and subsequent reinstatement of rival airline Comair’s licence by the civil aviation authority. The Kulula.com and British Airways Comair operator’s flights were grounded following notable safety and security concerns.

Read:
Comair planes grounded indefinitely over safety concerns [Mar 13]
Comair requires more funding [Mar 16]
CAA lifts Comair’s suspension [Mar 17]

Listen to FlySafair’s Kirby Gordon being interviewed on SAfm Market Update (or read the transcript here): 

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

COMMENTS   4

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Why don’t FlySafair get grounded?

You do realise that on average commercial aircraft have about 17 warning light indications per flight in SA ne !!
If your logic holds it will be the end of air travel !!!

Then why did the authorities ground Comair?

And fly SAA instead???! Ja right!
Flysafair is a great little airline and I for one will continue to fly with them in full confidence!
Admiration for the pilots and the airline for the extra caution taken with this particular aircraft. Well done !

End of comments.

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