Has the CAA Been Captured?
SA Flyer Magazine|April 2022
It is an aphorism to say that aviation safety is a matter of life or death and thus safety must be nonnegotiable. Using this justification, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) gets away with being quick to ground airlines for breaches of safety requirements.
By Guy Leitch
Has the CAA Been Captured?

Grounding an airline is the ultimate sanction and causes immeasurable harm to, not just the target airline, but to the entire aviation industry. I have not been able to find any other airline regulator anywhere in the world that is remotely as heavy-handed as the current South African CAA regime. Before 2018 it was unheard of for the CAA to ground an airline and it is hard to find examples of it happening anywhere else in the world. Yet in the past four years, under the hand of Director Poppy Khoza, the CAA has grounded airlines at least an incredible 7 times.

CAN THE CAA BE TRUSTED?

It would seem that the CAA is once again on an unchecked rampage. In developed countries, if the aviation regulator has a problem with an airline, it makes a formal complaint or allegation and then an independent body adjudicates the complaint. The principle of 'audi alteram partem' - or letting the other side be heard, is thus observed. This is particularly necessary with the CAA, which was found to have wrongfully grounded Cemair fleet.

they do not have evidence of imminent danger

There are many other problems with the CAA's grounding of Comair. A 'precautionary suspension' implies that they do not in fact have evidence of possible 'imminent danger'. Aviation Economist Dr Joachim Vermooten says this is unacceptable. Further, it is unheard of for a regulator to ground an entire airline - at the most a specific aircraft or even a type (eg the Boeing Max) may be grounded.

This story is from the April 2022 edition of SA Flyer Magazine.

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This story is from the April 2022 edition of SA Flyer Magazine.

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