CemAir is back in the air after the airline and SA Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) locked horns again in court, this time over compliance issues relating to hand luggage weight limitations.
According to Sacaa, the low-cost airline was given until 5pm yesterday to submit a plan of action outlining how it would resolve safety and procedural issues after it was grounded for the second time this year.
At the weekend, Sacaa halted passenger flights operated by 12 CemAir aircrafts.
According to Sacaa spokesperson Papi Maja, the airliner subsequently violated the safety order, prompting the authority to suspend it for violating the Aviation Act.
“We realised the weight limitations were not being met in terms of hand luggage,” said Maja. “And when we served them with the prohibition order where they were not allowed to fly, we noted that some aircraft were flown from one place to another and that is a violation of the Act.”
Maja said the current arrangement by the two parties was as a result of a court order after CemAir approached the High Court in Johannessburg seeking an interdict blocking the suspension.
Yesterday, Sacaa argued that even though the court order temporarily lifted its decision, it compelled CemAir to comply with the regulations.
Maja said: “Sacaa believes that the time spent going to court could have been used gainfully by the airline to ensure compliance with civil aviation regulations.”
CemAir rejected reasons given by Sacaa to ground their flights.
Chief executive Miles van der Molen said: “It must be emphasised that the judge, during argument repeatedly stated that should aviation safety be in question at any level, the court would be unable to assist CemAir by interfering in Sacaa’s decision to suspend the airline, unless the clearest of proof was presented to demonstrate that Sacaa’s approach was clearly wrong or that it had misdirected itself.
“Fact that CemAir obtained the order, under such rigorous scrutiny from the judge, on its own, speaks for itself and is a vindication of CemAir’s safety credentials.”