Freedom Air ordered to stop flying

2014-01-20 00:00

THE Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have ordered all work to stop at a South African aviation company in Gabon pending the outcome of an investigation.

Freedom Air, which is based at the Wonderboom airport in Pretoria north, has been flying chartered and scheduled flights from Libreville in Gabon since December.

The aircraft flies with a South African registration number and pilots.

Freedom Air is, however, not authorised to sell tickets on commercial flights or transport passengers, and doing so holds serious repercussions for insurance payments in case of an accident.

CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said Freedom Air had applied for temporary authorisation on December 24 to use an aircraft in Gabon while an aircraft of Allegiance Air was being serviced in Libreville.

She said the aircraft would have been flying temporarily on its South African operating licence and conditions in Gabon while its operators waited for the correct documentation.

Gabon’s aviation authority also wanted to audit Allegiance Air. This has not happened yet.

Gwebu said a temporary authorisation was granted, but not to undertake scheduled flights or sell tickets.

She said it was also not legal to use temporary authorisation to issued tickets in the name of another company, as both processes entail insurance implications.

Gwebu said Freedom Air had been warned to adhere to the letter of the conditions of the temporary authorisation, which does not include permission for commercial flights.

The operator has allegedly transgressed this condition while the Gabon audit was not being done.

Gwebu said an investigation is underway and the chief inspector of operations had been tasked to stop all flights with immediate effect.

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