Minister backs Airlink grounding

2009-12-24 13:44

Johannesburg - The department of transport will not stand for the loss of lives due to unsafe aircraft, Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Thursday.

"As the department of transport, we will not stand guard at the gates of hell as a bonfire is brewed for the unnecessary sacrifice of our people," the minister said in a statement following the grounding of 14 Airlink planes deemed unsafe by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

"This is our commitment to South Africa, this is our earthly covenant with all users of our airspace."

Airlink planes have been at the centre of several accidents and near-accidents in the past three months; the most recent a plane which had to abort its take-off in Nelspruit on Wednesday morning.

SACAA has said the main technical problems appear to lie with some of the engine function.