The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has temporarily grounded CemAir (5Z, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) after an audit revealed the carrier lacked a permanent, fully accredited Responsible Person (Flight Operations).

The regulator said in a statement on Wednesday, December 12, that it had given the airline 24 hours, or until 1330L on Thursday, December 13, to make representations and state their case as to why their Air Operator Certificates (AOC) should not be revoked.

"The decision to curtail CemAir's AOC privileges follows the raising of two (2), Level One (1) findings against the operator by SACAA inspectors during an annual permit renewal audit," it said. "The non-compliances that were uncovered during the audit not only contravene the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act No. 13 of 2009), but also contravene five (5) other South African Civil Aviation Regulations."

SACAA said that at the time of its audit, CemAir had failed to appoint personnel it found acceptable to permanently take on the role of Responsible Person: Flight Operations within a prescribed 30-day window.

"It was subsequently found that CemAir continued to utilise an employee in the position of Responsible Person: Flight Operations despite being formally notified of the SACAA's decision to decline the request to have this particular employee appointed to occupy this very critical position as he did not meet the stipulated requirements," it said.

"This malpractice demonstrates that CemAir is intentionally violating applicable Civil Aviation Regulations. This non-compliance violates the prescribed regulatory provisions applicable to a holder of both the Air Services Licence Perrnit, and Air Operator Certificate."

In response, CemAir said it had made representation to SACAA regarding the "allegations" and that it was currently awaiting their feedback.

This is the second such grounding for CemAir in 2018. In February, SACAA ordered the airline to undergo recertification after an earlier audit revealed that some of its aircraft that had been serviced at its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) were released back into circulation or cleared as airworthy by unqualified personnel.