JUST IN: SAA cancels 19 domestic and international flights
January 21, 2020
South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled "a few domestic flights," the state airline's spokesman Tlali Tlali said on Tuesday, adding that a statement would be issued shortly. SAA is running short of cash after the government failed to provide R2 billion rand of emergency funding it promised when the airline entered a form of bankruptcy protection last month.While SAA has not revealed any news on the cancellation, Flight Centre seemed to have confirmed it. In a tweet, the company revealed: “South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled a number of their domestic and international flights. We are in the process of contacting our customers to advise and assist. Should you be affected and wish to discuss your options, please contact your Travel Expert.” (sic). Flight Centre told IOL Travel the company would reveal a statement in the next hour. SAA on Monday, January 20, assured its customers and stakeholders that flights to all its destinations continue as normal. “The airline is aware of media reports suggesting that it will cease operations. SAA is always committed to transparently communicate with all stakeholders, including customers, about any material or significant operational changes that may have an impact on flight schedules. “Where there may be flight schedule amendments, such operational changes will be managed and communicated in accordance with the industry norms and practices,” the statement revealed. Many travellers faced the same predicament in November when the airline cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights. SAA Spokesperson Tlali Tlali revealed at the time that only flights operated by South African Airways were affected. If you have booked with SAA, head over to their website at FlySAA to check the status of your flight.
New 737 Max software issue arises during certification review
January 20, 2020
Boeing has identified a problem with the software on the 737 Max designed to monitor the performance of other systems during aircraft startup, adding another hitch to the Max’s return-to-service. The issue is relatively minor, according to an aviation safety expert, and unrelated to the flight control system implicated as a factor leading to two crashes. Boeing says it is working to fix the problem, which came to light during a final review of the Max by the Federal Aviation Administration prior to certification. “We are aware of this issue,” Boeing says in a 17 January statement. “We are making necessary updates and working with the FAA on submission of this change, and keeping our customers informed.” The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The issue involves software that monitors various other systems. It ensures those systems properly come on line at startup when electricity is run through the aircraft, either via ground power or using the Max’s auxiliary power unit, according to Boeing and sources familiar with the issue. One of the system’s monitors was found to be functioning incorrectly, Boeing says. John Goglia, an aviation safety expert, former airline mechanic and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, describes the issue as minor. He says that if the software system failed to detect an issue with the Max’s systems, pilots would still likely receive an indication of that fault in the cockpit.
Bek Air appeals against suspension as IATA code withdrawn
January 20, 2020
IATA has recalled the designator code for Kazakh carrier Bek Air, three weeks after a fatal take-off accident led to an enforced suspension of the carrier’s operations. Bek Air has filed an appeal against the suspension, claiming that the decision is illegal. The airline had been operating under the ‘Z9’ designator code. But IATA formally notified the airline, on 17 January, that it was recalling the code with immediate effect because the company “no longer meets the qualifications” to retain it, and that it would be made available to other qualifying operators in 60 days’ time. Bek Air could secure reassignment of the code within this period if it proves itself eligible and settles any outstanding balances with IATA. The carrier is appealing the suspension which followed the 27 December accident at Almaty. Bek Air argues that the commission investigating the crash, which resulted in 12 fatalities, has yet to reach conclusions, and has been considering various possible scenarios including improper loading and balance, crew handling errors, technical failure, and the effect of weather conditions – including icing. As a result, it states, the decision by Kazakh civil aviation regulators on 27 December to suspend the airline’s certificate, until further notice, is “premature”. It says the decision “cannot be recognised as reasonable and legal”, adding that the communication on the suspension gives “no explanation” for it. This failure to indicate the specific breaches by the operator that justify the suspension amount to a “gross violation” of the procedure for carrying out the sanction, the airline states, and therefore the suspension itself is “illegal and must be cancelled”.