Several sources alleged that the airline's safety audit report saw failures with at least three level 1 findings.
Mystery surrounds the findings of a safety audit report on South African Airways (SAA) carried out by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) and which could impact on its permit to fly as a commercial operator.
Sacaa confirmed the audit findings have been given to SAA, but refused to discuss the contents of the audits, saying the information was subject to “non-disclosure and confidentiality” restrictions.
SAA would not comment on questions sent a week ago.
Several sources alleged that the SAA audit saw failures with at least three level 1 findings.
Sacaa audits categorise risk into categories, and the authority explains that a level 1 is issued when there are serious safety concerns along with contraventions of the law.
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Sacaa’s Daphney Chuma said: “It is a severe non-compliance or non-conformance that may pose a serious safety or security risk to the public and will necessitate the immediate enforcement action from the regulator in the interest of safeguarding aviation safety and security.
“Based on this, if such non-compliance has been identified during our audit and inspection, an approval holder shall be required to immediately address such non-compliance, and failure to do so may lead to partial or full suspension of such an approval.”
The audit may affect whether SAA’s Air Operator Certificate is renewed when it expires at the end of this month.
That, in turn, may impact on the airline’s ability to return to operations as early as next month, the date given by interim boss Thomas Kgokolo.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said last week SAA’s resumption of operations would only be likely in August, as negotiations with a private equity partner were still being finalised.
Various sources allege that two of the three Sacaa audit findings relate to cabin crew and pilot training shortcomings.
READ MORE: SAA domestic flights to resume ‘soon’
In February, SAA’s controversial flight to collect vaccines in Brussels saw a dangerous “alpha-floor” when automatic software prevented a potential disastrous stall on the Airbus A340-600 aircraft.
This event should not have happened had pre-flight checks been carried out as required.
SAA declined to comment on the status of its internal investigation, but Saaca’s probe is nearly complete, with findings “on the verge” of being shared with SAA.
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Alf Lees said the alleged failure by SAA in the Saaca audit was “not surprising given the chaos at SAA, left by the business rescue practitioners”.