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South African Airways, Comair return grounded planes to service

South African Airways (SAA) and Comair began returning grounded planes to service on Wednesday a day after safety regulators flagged maintenance problems.

South African Airways

Flights were departing Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport as normal on Wednesday morning, a passenger service representative for Airports Company South Africa said.

Comair said it expected no disturbances on Wednesday after at least eight of its domestic flights were disrupted on Tuesday.

SAA, which had 25 aircraft affected by the regulators’ safety audit, declined to comment.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said on Tuesday that it had found faults during an inspection at SAA Technical.

It issued a prohibition order until the faults had been fixed but the authority refused to disclose the nature of the problems.

SACAA said it had accepted a corrective action plan from SAA’s maintenance unit and that the decision by SAA and Comair to ‘self-ground’ some aircraft on Tuesday as a precautionary measure.

SAA Technical maintains aircraft for SAA, it’s subsidiary Mango Airlines and British Airways franchise partner Comair, which also operates under the kulula.com brand.

SAA canceled four domestic flights on Tuesday, combining services and deploying bigger aircraft to accommodate affected passengers.

SAA has not made an annual profit since 2011 and is dependent on government bailouts for its survival.

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