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CAPE TOWN: South Africa has suspended the air operator certificate for Comair as a precautionary measure for 24 hours, effectively grounding its fleet and affecting passengers using low-cost airline Kulula as well as British Airways flights, the transport ministry said on Saturday. Comair has since 1996 serviced local and regional routes from South Africa under the British Airways livery as part of a license agreement.

“The regulator took this decision independently, in line with its mandate to oversee aviation safety,” Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said in a statement. The regulator, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), said in the past month Comair had experienced safety problems ranging from “engine failures, engine malfunction and landing gear malfunctions, amongst others”.

“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,” the SACAA said in a statement on its website. “The operator has until tomorrow morning, Sunday, 13 March 2022 to meet the requirements from the regulator, failing which the approval will be suspended indefinitely, pending the satisfactory closing of the findings,” said SACAA.

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