South African Regional Carrier Ordered to Ground Entire Fleet Over Safety Risks

May 24, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A South African airline has just been ordered to ground its entire fleet of 21 planes after an aviation audit revealed a number of non-compliant issues that compromise aircraft safety.

South African Express, also known as SA Express, is a government-owned regional airline that operates smaller routes on behalf of the national carrier, South African Airways. A brief notice posted on the South African Express website Thursday stated that “SA Express confirms that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has suspended the airline’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) as well as the certification for an Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO). The SACAA finding relates, amongst others, to the safety management processes within the airline.”

The ruling comes just days after two separate SA Express flights had to make emergency landings on May 11, one of which suffered an explosion soon after takeoff. As part of the audit ruling, nine of the 21 aircraft also had their certificates of airworthiness suspended.

SACAA Director of Civil Aviation Poppy Khoza said that the SACAA “cannot turn a blind eye to any operation where there is overwhelming evidence that safety measures are compromised, because that automatically poses serious danger for the crew, passengers, and the public at large.”

Essentially, this means the airline is officially barred from operation as of May 24. Even if SA Express had the funds required to reapply for all the approvals required to pass inspection, the process could take weeks or months – and the carrier, which has been plagued with allegations of financial corruption as well as operational setbacks, most certainly does not have the money on hand.

This ruling could very well spell doom for SA Express, as this isn’t the first time the airline has been ordered to cease operating certain planes until safety measures were up to snuff. In 2017, SA Promo Magazine reported that SA Express lost “an estimated $400,000 monthly in lease rates for grounded aircraft that are not in use, because there is no money to pay suppliers for parts to service the aircraft, and is having to pay to charter aircraft.”

The SA Express fleet consists of 10 Bombardier CRJ 200s, four Bombardier CRJ 700s, and 10 Bombardier Q400s, which seat between 50 to 70 passengers.

The aviation industry in South Africa as a whole has been on shaky financial ground for some time, with South African Airways facing bankruptcy for many years now. There have been rumors that the two carriers might merge in order to consolidate their resources, but that may all change now that SA Express is all but defunct.

Featured photo by Shutterstock.

American Express® Green Card

WELCOME OFFER: 30,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: up to $100 annual CLEAR statement credit, up to $100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit, 3x points on travel and transit, 3x points on restaurants worldwide

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
  • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network – no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.