UPDATE | British Airways, kulula.com flights suspended for 24 hours

Kulula.com Boeing 737 800 (Supplied)

The SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has suspended kulula.com and British Airways flights, both operated by Comair, for the next 24 hours.

Comair issued a notice of the suspension on kulula.com’s website and Twitter account on Saturday.

Comair did not give reasons for the suspension but said its executive team is engaging with the SACAA on the matter.

“Comair believes there is no justification for the suspension,” the notice read.

In a statement issued by the SACAA, it said that the suspension follows an investigation into the “recent spate of safety incidents” at the operator.

“This is a precautionary suspension for a period of 24 hours, within which the operator must demonstrate to the regulator that the risk and safety management systems are effective in managing potential hazards,” SACAA said.

In February, kulula.com forced a flight from Lanseria to Cape Town to divert to OR Tambo International over an engine-related problem, Fin24 previously reported.

According to SACAA, Comair operations experienced several issues in the past month, such as engine failures, engine malfunction, and landing gear malfunctions.

Fin24 has reached out to Comair for further comment on its operational challenges. This article will be updated as and when responses are received.

SACAA said its investigation sought to determine if Comair complies with Civil Aviation Regulations. The inspection also aimed to review Comair’s quality control and safety management systems.

Failure of Comair to produce “satisfactory evidence” to SACAA in relation to the findings of the investigation led to the precautionary suspension. SACAA said the precautionary suspension would allow Comair to demonstrate that its systems can “prevent and avert” safety hazards. The operator has until Sunday, March 13, to meet the requirements. Failing that, the flights will continue to be grounded.

Meanwhile, customers with booked flights for Saturday 12 March are advised not to travel to the airport. “We will advise affected customers soon on the options available to them,” Comair said in a separate statement.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused our customers and are doing our utmost to restore operations as soon as possible.”

Further updates will be made available on its social media channels.

*This article was updated to include comment from SACAA.

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