While the strike season in South Africa continues to tear several sectors of the economy apart, government-controlled airline operator South African Airways (SAA) says all is well and going well on its side.
“SAA’s contingency plans and its maintenance subsidiary South African Airways Technical (SAAT) have proven to be effective with minimal disruption,” airline spokesperson Tlali Tlali said yesterday in Johannesburg.
The company has categorically refuted labour union SATAWU’s claims that its industrial action at SAAT has paralysed operations.
“Our operations continue to operate with minimal disruptions, a fact which can be independently verified,” Tlali added.
SAA said it had 31 flight departures on Tuesday (from 6am to 12pm) out of OR Tambo International Airport of which only one was delayed for 17 minutes as a direct result of the strike.
It is unfortunate that SATAWU continues to propagate exaggerated and unfounded claims, the airline said in a statement.
“A case in point was yesterday’s delay of a flight between Johannesburg and Beijing which was as a result of the requisite replacement of a faulty component.
“The said delay and the period it took to attend to the aircraft would have been the same, with or without the industrial action.”
Tlali also denied the union’s claims by SAAT has assigned uncertified engineers to work on aircraft. “This is utterly deceitful as the company conducts its business in line with international and local regulatory prescripts,” the spokesperson said.
SAAT and SAA would under no circumstances deploy its personnel, or any contractor to work on matters that they are unqualified, or uncertified for, he said.
The SAA Group of companies puts the safety of customers and crew above anything else, he said.
The union was not immediately available for comment.