South Africa-based regional carrier CemAir is gradually restoring its schedules after the country’s civil aviation regulator lifted its suspension of the airline’s Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO).

The South African CAA (SACAA) ended the suspension on Feb. 24, three weeks after it began. The SACAA also grounded 12 of CemAir’s fleet. The company operates a mixture of Bombardier CRJ100 and 200s and is introducing the CRJ900. It also operates Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s and Beech 1900 commuter aircraft.

The regulator said Feb. 24 the AMO suspension was lifted after CemAir completed “a five-phase certification process that included … document evaluation and demonstration phases.”

In its statement, however, the CAA noted the 12 affected aircraft had not yet been declared airworthy and released back to service.

“Notwithstanding, the lifting of the AMO suspension is a step in the right direction and means that the operator is now in a position to officially maintain their own as well as other operators’ aircraft for which they are approved.

“This also means that CemAir is now in a position to hopefully speed up the process of getting more of their aircraft ready for inspection by SACAA officials. The aircraft will be released back into operation once they are certified as airworthy.”

CemAir has been leasing in capacity to help maintain services; it operates both scheduled and non-scheduled flights in and around South Africa.

CemAir added the SACAA had ended the grounding of its Q400 aircraft and had “committed to expediting the inspection and release back into operation of the remaining 11 grounded aircraft.

“The safety and well-being of our customers, our people and our aircraft is our top priority” CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen said. “For this reason, we are working closely with the SACAA and based on the progress achieved to date we expect to return to full operations soon.

“We are working hard to return to full capacity within the next two weeks and in the interim, where possible, chartering third-party aircraft to enhance capacity.”

Alan Dron