British Airways branded flights in South Africa which are operated by Comair have been suspended for at least 24 hours after aviation safety regulators suspended the airline’s air operators certificate following a “spate of safety incidents” in the last few weeks.
The flight suspension affects both British Airways flights and Kulula services operated by Comair. International British Airways flights operated by the mainline business in London are not impacted by the suspension.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it was forced to take action after investigations into a succession of recent accidents uncovered three so-called ‘Level 1’ findings. A Level 1 finding poses an “immediate risk” and flight operations should be suspended immediately.
“Just in the past month, Comair operations experienced occurrences ranging from engine failures, engine malfunction and landing gear malfunctions, amongst others,” the CAA said in a statement on Saturday.
The regulator said it had given Comair until Sunday to meet a series of requirements or face indefinite suspension of its flight operations.
In a statement, Comair said it was “engaging and working with the CAA on an urgent basis to get the suspension lifted.”
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused our customers and are doing our utmost to restore operations as soon as possible.”
A week ago, a Kulula flight was forced to divert due to “engine issues, while two weeks ago, a British Airways branded jet was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from East London after the landing gear failed to retract.
Last month, another Kulula jet made an emergency landing after suffering an engine failure shortly after takeoff.
In 2019, Comair grounded some of its jets after “irregular findings” were uncovered by inspectors during a visit to a third-party maintenance facility.
Comair is a franchise partner of British Airways and operates domestic flights across South Africa and some regional services. Kulula is Comair’s low-cost brand and operates domestic services.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Call it what it is please, “British Airways, Franchise partner, Comair grounded for 24 Hours in South Africa”
BA doesn’t own Comair who operates domestic flights in South Africa under the BA brand under a franchise agreement and also operates as a low cost brand called Kulula
How is it a misleading title? British Airways flights in South Africa have been grounded… Fact! If a McDonald’s franchise was shut down you wouldn’t expect the title to name the franchise owner, would you?