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CemAir media statement:
Plettenberg Bay Airport is downgraded by the SACAA resulting in the suspension of all commercial flight services
CemAir announces, with regret, the suspension of all its flights into Plettenberg Bay with immediate effect. This affects both the Johannesburg and the Cape Town services. The suspension results from the downgrading of Plettenberg Bay Airport to below the minimum category required for our flights to operate into the airport.
The records show that the reason for suspension is the ongoing failure of the Airport to address outstanding issues from SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority) inspections, some several years old. Although written undertakings with specified timeframes were provided to the SACAA to address shortcomings, these undertakings were not met. Bitou Municipality had both a statutory and contractual obligation to correct the issues however has not done so and at the time of writing has made no commitment to address the issues.
It is unclear why the SACAA’s decision, although based on long outstanding issues was made with almost no notice.
Although CemAir has on numerous occasions offered to assist with the resolution of issues as well as the management of the Airport and provision of essential training for Airport and Fire Fighting staff, the majority of these offers or proposals were ignored and went unanswered by the Bitou Municipality.
Passengers with tickets already booked on our Plettenberg Bay service will be re-accommodated on our flights from George Airport. In addition, we will be introducing a George to Cape Town service to accommodate customers on this routing.
We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause our customers. Unfortunately, as an airline we rely on the infrastructure of the country in order for us to provide our service. When this infrastructure is not maintained, Government needs to be held accountable.
CemAir’s service to Plettenberg Bay was launched in 2014 and we have operated a few thousand flights into the Airport carrying in excess of 90,000 passengers over the 7 years. The service created jobs directly and indirectly and contributed to the growth of the town.
We thank everyone for their support over the years.
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