FlySafair has grounded an aircraft to investigate a technical error — after two flight diversions in a matter of days.
On both occasions, the same aircraft operating flight FA143 departed King Phalo Airport in East London for Cape Town International Airport and had to be diverted to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport in Gqeberha.
During both flights, on March 30 and April 5, the airline said “the captain was alerted to an indication error from a small component on the wing after departure and followed safety protocol by landing in Gqeberha rather than continuing onto Cape Town”.
During the first incident, the technicians performed checks and the indication was found to be a false warning. After the second alert, FlySafair said it decided to ground the plane for more comprehensive checks.
No interruptions to regular services are expected.
FlySafair maintains its own aircraft and says it has, despite the pressure experienced by the airline industry over the last two years, retained all its maintenance staff.
Working in conjunction with the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), the maintenance team at FlySafair will work to determine the root cause of the indication light to be able to release the aircraft back into service.
“On both occasions, our flight and cabin crews stepped in to ensure the utmost safety for all passengers on board,” said Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer of FlySafair. “Due to the nature of the landings, the team did not call for the brace position on either of the flights and rather assured passengers that the captain had taken the decision to divert the aircraft to Gqeberha.
“It’s never ideal to divert an aircraft because it delays customers and results in a number of costs for the airline, but it’s our policy to always act conservatively when it comes to any possible safety concerns.
“SA’s aviation safety record is one of the strongest in the world,” said Gordon, “It’s important that we as citizens understand that both the SACAA and the operators they regulate take these events, no matter how minor, very seriously to keep us safe in the skies.
“Despite the inconvenience, we … are a concerned and conscientious operator that prioritises safety.”