Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

A top regional airline association has written to Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi urging him to act on the state of uncertainty stunting the leadership as well as the status of SA Airlink's application for an amendment of its charter licence.

Airline CEO Rodger Foster clarified on Monday that Airlink was operating with a valid scheduled air service licence. "Airlink has applied to the Air Services Licensing Council for an amendment of its charter licence, in order to offer and operate a particular type of of aircraft on an ad hoc basis," said Foster.

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa represents at least 19 airlines in the Southern African region.

Its CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, wrote to Maswanganyi alerting him to the fact that SA Airlink was "experiencing challenges due to lack of progress" in its emergency application lodged with the Domestic Air Services Licensing Council.

"I respectfully request your urgent intervention in enabling the SA Airlink application to be dealt with and to ensure the Department of Transport and the ASLC [Domestic Air Services Licensing Council] work together to eliminate the backlog of applications which clearly is adversely impacting the sectors of the domestic aviation industry," said Zweigenthal.

He said the council was also at odds with the department over the board’s term of office and wanted the minister to consider their reappointment prior to the council positions being advertised and new appointments being made.

"I therefore request your urgent intervention in addressing the current operational problems that appear to be negatively impacting the ASLC’s ability to perform their duties and to request the ASLC to urgently attend to their immediate business," he said.

Zweigenthal said the council needed a good working relationship between the department and the aviation industry.

"The Department of Transport would have records of SA Airlink’s submission. Lack of a decision on this matter is adversely impacting their ability to carry on with their business in this area," he said.

Board tenure

Department of Transport spokesman Ishmael Mnisi told Business Day that neither the department nor the ministry had received communication about the letter, but said until otherwise decided the minister would follow procedure on the council’s board tenure.

"As you would know, we do not extend board tenures. We advertise and follow the procedure outlined in the law. So there are no current plans or discussions within the department to extend that," said Mnisi.

Mnisi said he could not comment on the licence predicament of SA Airlink as the minister had not reached a decision on the matter.

However, he did say that the matter of airline law compliance was receiving the minister’s attention.

magubanek@businesslive.co.za

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