Business set to suffer as Mthatha Airport gets downgraded

Business set to suffer as Mthatha Airport gets downgraded


The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has downgraded Mthatha Airport from category 4 to 3 due to certain infringements of the mandatory Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR), a set of safety regulations that is used to ensure that all airports and aircraft meet strict safety standards. The downgrade was enforced with immediate effect from Friday.

Mthatha Airport was found wanting on at least three aspects of the CAR. These relate to the adequacy of firefighting and rescue services, manuals and upgrades on control technology and its aerodrome emergency management system.

The Eastern Cape provincial government was at pains to point out that the airport has not been shut down but the downgrade meant that aircraft carrying in excess of 40 passengers would no longer be allowed to land.

SA Airlink, the airline that runs the Mthatha to Johannesburg route announced in a statement that all its flights to Mthatha have been cancelled until further notice.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience that this service disruption will cause to our customers, but it is in the interest of the safety and well-being of our customers, crews and aircraft, which is our top priority,” said Airlink CEO & Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

The airline is still looking at the option of flying a smaller aircraft so as to conform with the downgrade. This has left many passengers in limbo.


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