Gupta jet operator slapped with fine

2013-05-04 09:19

The Gupta family chartered jet’s operator has been fined R80 000 because the aircraft did not have a foreign operator permit, the SA Civil Aviation Authority said.

“Because the aircraft is now stationed at a civilian airport, a foreign operator permit is required as per regulation,” said spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu yesterday.

“An R80 000 fine has been imposed by the SACAA on the operator, as the aircraft did not have the permit.”

The operator was in the process of applying for the necessary permit.

The jet was now stationed at OR Tambo International Airport after Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula ordered that it be removed from the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Thursday.

The jet, chartered by the wealthy and politically connected Gupta family, landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base – a national key point – on Tuesday.

It was carrying guests to the wedding of Vega Gupta (23) to Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia at Sun City, North West. The Guptas own The New Age newspaper and Sahara Computers.

Gwebu said the SACAA had since inspected the jet at OR Tambo and found it had valid air safety and maintenance records in place – except for the permit.

“The implications of the decision by the Minister of Defence (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to remove the aircraft) are that the aircraft is now in the civilian airspace, and will be subjected to the provisions of the civil aviation.”

The SACAA’s mandate was to regulate civil aviation safety and security and this was accomplished by enforcing applicable civil aviation regulations and standards and practices, she said.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced earlier that five high ranking officials and military personnel had been suspended for the unauthorised landing.

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