DCA grounds FlyAfrica planes over safety concerns

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Windhoek

Namibia’s Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) has suspended the operations of FlyAfrica, citing the safety of the airline’s aeroplanes. The DCA says it has discovered that FlyAfrica uses planes that are not authorised under the civil aviation authority’s approved wet lease, which regulates such passenger services.

Further, the DCA says it has taken note of various recently reported incidents concerning the operations of Nomad Aviation, which operates as FlyAfrica, and complaints about the service of the airline, “with greater concern being reports about a recent incident where passengers expressed anxiousness about their safety”.

The DCA is conducting preliminary investigations into the safety of the airline, to determine whether Nomad Aviation is in compliance with the requirements of conducting flights as a certified air operator under the current wet lease arrangement.

“Under her regulatory powers, the Director of Civil Aviation, Angeline Simana, has had no option but to immediately issue an operational directive, applicable from 15h00 on 5th November 2015, prohibiting Nomad (Pty) Ltd, trading as FlyAfrica, from continuing with its services until such time that the DCA has successfully completed a re-validation mission and issued an approval in respect of any such services. This operational directive shall remain in effect until withdrawn by the director,” said the statement issued by Simana.

The statement says the DCA has now also received official communications from the civil aviation authorities in South Africa and Zimbabwe on the operations of FlyAfrica. “In fact, Nomad’s partner in Zimbabwe which enabled their Namibian operations, have had their air operators’ certificate suspended by that country’s civil aviation authority. Despite this development FlyAfrica, without consulting the Directorate of Civil Aviation beforehand, continued with flights utilising planes not authorised by the Namibia Directorate of Civil Aviation.”
“This action [to suspend operations of FlyAfrica] is made in the interest of public safety and maintenance of secure civil aviation services,” Simana said.

However, FlyAfrica on Friday posted on its Facebook page that it “is pleased to announce the resumption of services between Windhoek and Cape Town and Windhoek to Johannesburg from Monday 9 November”.
“FlyAfrica has worked hard with the Department of Civil Aviation in Namibia and appreciates all their support to ensure a swift resolution of the issues that had resulted in the regrettable cancellation of Friday’s flight,” the company said.

FlyAfrica has had angry customers stranded at OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa, as well as in Zimbabwe, following the suspension of its licence by the Zimbabwean civil aviation authority.

“FlyAfrica Zimbabwe has made the difficult decision today to cancel all flights up to and including Wednesday 11 November. FlyAfrica Zimbabwe is still waiting for a court ruling regarding the fraudulent and illegal actions taken by our local partner that resulted in the surrendering of our aircraft operating certificate (AOC),” FlyAfrica CEO Adrian Hamilton-Manns posted on the airline’s Facebook page.

The suspension affects the airline’s flights between Harare and Johannesburg, Bulawayo and Johannesburg and Victoria Falls and Johannesburg.

Hamilton-Manns says the airline is working hard with the Zimbabwean civil aviation authority and justice system to resolve this matter as speedily as possible.

“We are waiting on the ruling from the Zimbabwe High Court, which may take several more days. We have taken the very difficult decision to defer flights for another five days. We will refund all passengers who are affected and apologise again for the disruption caused by the illegal actions of our Zimbabwean partner – it is affecting everybody,” Hamilton-Manns said.

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