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South Africa grounds airline linked to British Airways

Africanews | Following a series of safety problems, South Africa's aviation regulator has grounded a fleet controlled by Comair, a British Airways franchise, indefinitely.

The airline was suspended the day before after failing to persuade the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) that it had satisfactorily resolved the safety concerns.

In South Africa, Comair conducts regional and local flights for British Airways and Kulula, a cheap airline.

The most recent safety problem involving its plane occurred last month on a flight with 111 people from East London, in the Eastern Cape province, to Johannesburg.

The plane made an emergency landing barely minutes after taking off, with dramatic videos on social media showing terrified people onboard crying and praying loudly.

SACAA said in a statement that Comair operations had "had events ranging from engine failures, engine malfunction, and landing gear problems" in the previous month.

The grounding of Comair's fleet has elicited no response from the airline, but it did say on Sunday that the indefinite suspension was "a significant blow to our customers, workers, and the flying public."

While it's unknown when Comair will fly again, the regulator says it's "completely committed to ensuring that the operator is back in the air" and has "allocated a full staff to analyze and review the material as it is submitted."

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