Union utterances highly irresponsible: SAA

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South African Airways’s (SAA) Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders has labelled as highly irresponsible the unions’ utterances that flights are being operated by unqualified, inexperienced personnel.

He says SAA, since it was founded, has been committed to safety.

“There are clear rules in place and we follow them all. Frankly it is an insult to our pilots because a captain is in charge of his aircraft and there is no way he will sign off and fly an aircraft if it is in any way unsafe.”

“It is absolutely untrue,”says Saunders.

SAA management says it will take legal action against Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association for their utterances.

Meanwhile, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) says SAA has provided assurances that their personnel are qualified to carry out their duties.

SACAA spokesperson, Phindiwe Gwebu says they are continuing spot checks to ensure the safety of passengers.

She says pilots are not on strike, all of the pilots are fully operational.

“In terms of the maintenance engineers as well as the cabin crew, the airline has assured us and given us numbers to indicate how many of these are participating in the strike. Looking at the numbers, I can say as the regulator that we gained comfort in that there is no imminent danger to passengers that are flying.”

“We have gone a step further to do spot checks because the union has made these allegations so we have asked for reports from them and they have submitted the details.”

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