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The big story: A+ for SA’s aviation safety

Looking to fly to a local getaway over the upcoming long weekend? If you didn’t book way in advance, you probably paid through the nose. On Monday, Kulula and British Airways flights were unexpectedly grounded amid concerns over safety and compliance. Hundreds of travellers were left stranded and other airlines hiked their ticket prices.

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said there had been a “spate of occurrences which posed safety risks by Kulula.com and BA Comair airlines”. 👀

The CAA today lifted its suspension on Comair, which operates the two airlines domestically, after a sleepless and tense five nights while audits and assessments were carried out. We’re impressed by both the commitment to safety and the speed in getting things going again. 

On the back of SAA’s poor financial record and the need to boost local travel, this could have been a huge blow to South Africa’s economy.

According to the same statement, our country apparently holds a very high-performance record in terms of aviation safety and security standards. The International Civil Aviation Organisation puts our safety index at level +1: in the areas of operations, support and air navigation, that places us above the average, according to the CAA.

The price gouging by rival airlines is far less impressive. The Competition Commission, which monitors the price of services and products, received reports that some flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town were priced at nearly R5000 per trip. The commission warned against such exploitative practices and instead called on airlines to add more flights to help with the shortage. 

Thankfully, then, you don’t have to cancel your upcoming Comair flight; just be sure to look at the Kulula and British Airways websites to ensure all is in order: the airlines have said NOT to go to the airport unless you have a newly confirmed booking. Once you’re all booked and ready, you can fly safely knowing that our country is doing an A-grade job on aviation safety!

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 17 March  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.