CemAir – when you can expect a refund

Cemair has confirmed that passengers affected by the suspension of its operations by the South African Civil Aviation Authority during December will be granted full refunds within eight weeks.

Passengers who made bookings via a travel agent are being advised to contact the agent directly for their refund application, which agents can apply for via BSPlink.

CemAir was able to resume operations on December 20, when the High Court decided to temporarily lift the SACAA’s suspension. When asked whether the grounds on which SACAA implemented the suspension were justified, Miles van der Molen, CemAir ceo, said that the airline would not have taken the case to the High Court if they thought SACAA’s decision was legitimate. He added that the High Court could not overturn SACAA’s decision, but advised that the temporary lifting would be in place at least until the end of the official appeals process.

In response to passenger reports that further flight cancellations and delays took place after the suspension was lifted in December, Miles said: “This was as an indirect result of the suspension, due to passengers not arriving for their flights. We also battled to get hold of the passengers to ensure that we did not leave them behind.”

At the time of the suspension, SACAA said the decision followed the raising of two Level One findings against the operator by its inspectors during an annual permit renewal audit. SACAA describes Level One findings as severe non-compliance or non-conformance issues that pose a very serious safety risk.

A statement released by SACAA on December 12 advised that the suspension was due to the airline failing to produce or demonstrate that it had appointed a qualified person for the role of Responsible Person: Flight Operations (RPFO), a position required by the Civil Aviation regulations. The statement also mentioned that CemAir had continued to use an employee in that position, even though SACAA had notified them that this employee did not meet its requirements for the position.

In response to these concerns, CemAir stated: “It is with respect without any doubt that Venter (the employee) with over 46 years of experience, is not only a fit and proper person to hold the position of RPFO but one of the most highly qualified for the post in South Africa. He is certainly suitably qualified for the position.”

“This false and defamatory publication, designed to unjustifiably attack CemAir’s pristine safety record is regrettable,” responded the airline in a statement. “There is a strong perception amongst the employees of CemAir that the company is being targeted by the CAA.”

SACAA advised that the court had not exonerated the airline, and that its suspension had been temporarily lifted with conditions.

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