Cape Town - Air Botswana has announced the suspension of its Gaborone-Cape Town route following the recent grounding of CemAir.
Air Botswana runs the route 4x weekly using CRJ-100 capacity wet-leased from the South African ACMI/charter operator which has been grounded since February 2 over regulatory compliance concerns.
CemAir announced in a statement that progress is being made with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) as they conclude the documentation phase of its process on Friday, to get its planes back in the sky, which have been grounded since 2 February.
However, Air Botswana confirmed, "As a temporary measure, all Cape Town ticketed passengers are being re-routed via Johannesburg OR Tambo at no extra cost, until a definite solution has been implemented."
Ch-aviation.com reports, CemAir has chartered a Fokker 70 from Golden Wings Aviation to cover its Johannesburg OR Tambo-Hoedspruit route. However, it thee are no other plans to charter any other aircraft to cover its other routes.
SEE: CemAir still grounded, while CEO's credibility is up in the air
The embattled airline claims that the prolonged grounding is not because SACAA found more issues but rather because of the authority's decision to conduct "a full review of all aspects of CemAir’s aircraft maintenance division".
After the document phase concludes before the weekend, the inspection phase of CemAir's maintenance division is expected to start early next week. Running concurrently is the inspection of the 12 planes that were grounded.
“The safety and well-being of our customers, our people and our aircraft is our top priority. For this reason, we are working closely with SACAA and based on the progress achieved to date we expect to start limited operations soon,” says CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen in the statement. His credibility has been put in the spotlight since the grounding, with ex-employees claiming that a 'culture of fear' permeates the airline in a segment aired by Carte Blanche.
“I wish to thank our customers for their patience and their loyalty. I am sorry that we have let you down during this period.”
ALSO SEE: 12 CemAir aircraft grounded for 'questionable 'safety approval
While the grounding is still in effect, CemAir has hired chartered operators for some of its routes, and have made attempts to book customers on other flights where possible or refund ticket holders.
Although ticket holders can contact CemAir to make the arrangements (0861 236 247) they have urged passengers to also email to the following addresses as they are experiencing a high call volume:
However, some have not been too happy with CemAir's communication with customers:
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