South African Airways (SAA) could lose some of its profitable routes if its operating license is suspended, an aviation expert has warned.

This comes after the national carrier was this week given 90 days by the Air Transport Licensing Board of South Africa to fulfill its compliance obligations and provide more details on the deal with the Takatso Consortium.

Aviation analyst Phutega Mohapele explains the consequences of a license suspension.

“A suspension doesn’t mean you can’t fly again or can’t get your license. It simply means that if you are suspended, you need to state the reasons and state in the letter that was issued to you that you are indeed fit to continue flying and maintain your licence,” Mohapele explains.

The analyst goes on to explain that routes operated by SAA – and any other airline operating in South African airspace – are owned by the South African government, not the airline itself.

The current Air Transport Board in South Africa was recently appointed by the Cabinet in March 2022, a year after the terms of their previous board members expired, and among their first responsibilities was the review of license applications and the issuing of route licences.

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