State-owned local regional airline SA Express announced on Thursday that it would be reinstating its flights between Cape Town and Bloemfontein and Cape Town and Walvis Bay (in Namibia). “Cape Town is one of our most important hubs and we are delighted to be back, offering our services to business and leisure travellers from the Mother City to Bloemfontein and Walvis Bay, and vice versa,” said company interim CEO Siza Mzimela.
The once-a-day Cape Town-Walvis Bay flights will restart on Saturday (January 12) and the Cape Town-Bloemfontein flights on Sunday (January 13). On the Bloemfontein route there will be two flights a day from Monday to Friday, and one flight daily on Saturday and Sunday.
“Reclaiming our key routes and returning to provide service to our valued customers, as we have now done in Cape Town, remains a paramount priority for us,” she affirmed. “But instead of trying to be everything to everyone, we have adopted a new pragmatic model in the way we select our routes, so that in the end we only relaunch those routes that can be sustained.”
The company has reported that it is achieving key performance targets well ahead of schedule. These include the number of aircraft returned to service, on-time performance, phased restoration of services and number of passengers carried.
SA Express was grounded by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) in May last year, because an audit had “uncovered severe cases of non-compliance that pose serious safety risks”. Subsequently, SA Express was (in the airline’s words) subjected to a “stringent and rigorous process” to restore its standards to the levels required by the regulator.
As a result, the SACAA reinstated the airline’s certification as an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation early in July 2018. Subsequently, the regulator also reinstated SA Express’ Air Operator’s Certificate and re-issued Certificates of Airworthiness for the majority (if not, by now, all) of its fleet.