Airlink suspends flights to Polokwane after airport downgrade for safety reasons

Airlink has suspended flights to Polokwane after the airport was downgraded by the SA Civil Aviation Authority to a category below the minimum level required for scheduled commercial air services. Stock photo.
Airlink has suspended flights to Polokwane after the airport was downgraded by the SA Civil Aviation Authority to a category below the minimum level required for scheduled commercial air services. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf.com/Jaromír Chalabala

Airlink has suspended flights to Polokwane with immediate effect after the airport was downgraded by the SA Civil Aviation Authority for being unable to provide the minimum level of emergency services required to maintain its aerodrome licence category.

Airlink said it was advised by the authority on Tuesday night that the Polokwane airport had been de-categorised to CAT2, which was below the minimum level required for scheduled commercial air services.

“The status of the airport presents as an operational safety concern and it would be illegal to operate scheduled services at the airport. It is regrettable that the airport did not advise Airlink of the impending threat of de-categorisation and its inability to provide the minimum level of emergency services required to maintain its aerodrome licence category,” the airline said in a statement.

“Airlink has explored all options, including the possibility of operating at the 'Pietersburg Civil' aerodrome, which also offers no rescue firefighting services and therefore is unable to accept scheduled commercial flights.”

Airlink said it would work with Polokwane airport management to establish when it would address its non-compliances and regain the minimum category required.

“In the circumstances, unfortunately and most regrettably, Airlink has had to cancel its services today [Wednesday].

“We are unable to ascertain whether the airport will meet the minimum requirements for future services. Customers will be contacted directly, and an update will be provided as soon as Airlink receives more information from the Polokwane airport.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of this service. Customers holding confirmed tickets on the cancelled flights should contact their booking agent, tour operator or Airlink reservations on 011 451 7300, and for refunds, e-mail 4Zonlinerefunds@flyairlink.com” said Airlink CEO and MD, Rodger Foster.

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