The South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it’s due to carry out verification exercises to check if South African Airways’ (SAA) personnel are qualified to operate aircraft.

This follows allegations by some unions that reinstated SAA flights are being operated by short-term, unqualified personnel.

SAA Management says it will take legal action against National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) for their utterances.

SACAA spokesperson, Phindile Gwebu, says SAA has provided assurances that their personnel is qualified to carry out their duties.

“They did give assurances that the personnel that are managing the operations are fully qualified. We will do our own verification exercise. But at the moment we don’t have reason to believe that the operations are managed by people who are unqualified. They did give us assurances in terms of the numbers of people that are on strike, and based on that we do believe that they should have sufficient capacity to ensure the safe operations of the aircraft,” says Gwebu.

Meanwhile, the Cabin Crew Association says the national carrier has hired individuals with learnership experience to help operate the aircraft. SACCA President, Zazi Sibanyoni-Mugambi, has reiterated that these personnel may not be sufficiently qualified and could pose a safety risk on board the planes.

“The cabin crew is highly trained, we have highly trained pilots, technicians. However, what SAA has done is to hire learnership people who have no experience in working on aircraft, and they have applied to use them on board aircraft. These people are highly inexperienced, there are regulations against how many of these people you can use. Safety is important and if these people are in the planes it is a safety issue,” says Sibanyoni-Mugambi.

 

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