The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has announced it has revoked South African Express's Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) as well as the airworthiness certificates for nine of its twenty-one aircraft. It has also suspended the carrier's AMO accreditations.

In a statement issued on Thursday, May 24, the regulator said it had conducted an audit of the ailing carrier's operations over the course of the past several days. During the course of the inspections, SACAA says it uncovered "severe cases of non-compliance that pose serious safety risks".

It said that there were seventeen (17) findings, of which five (5) had been categorised as Level 1 findings i.e. 'severe non-compliance or non-conformance that poses a very serious safety or security risk to the public and will necessitate the immediate exercising of the discretionary enforcement powers vested in the authorised persons, in the interests of safeguarding aviation safety or security'.

As the airline could not ensure that operational requirements, and most importantly, safety obligations were met at all times, SACAA said the grounding of SA Express's operations was "inevitable".

"This effectively means that as of today, i.e. Thursday, May 24, 2018, SA Express PTY (SOC) can no longer continue to operate as an airline. In order to be able to operate, SA Express will have to reapply and be issued with relevant approvals, i.e. an air operating certificate, and an approval for the aircraft maintenance organisation, and certificates of airworthiness for the grounded aircraft," it said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, SA Express's in-house fleet entails ten CRJ-200s (of which five were recently active), two CRJ-700s, and ten Dash 8-400s (of which six were recently active).

South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, had earlier in the day appointed a new board to oversee the airline's turnaround. Former South African Airways deputy chairman, Tryphosa Ramano, was appointed Express's new chairman with new board members named as Ronald Lamola, Thulani Kgomo, Thandiwe January-McLean, Kugan Thaver, Bongisiwe Mpondo, Hlengiwe Thandeka Makhathini, Thabi Leoka, and Ahmed Bassa.