An investigation into a recent Mango flight has raised serious safety concerns at the country’s state-owned airlines.
Passengers on a recent Boeing 737 flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town were terrified when the aircraft suddenly nosedived, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.
The nosedive has been blamed on a defective part in the Mango Airlines’ Boeing 737, fitted at maintenance subsidiary SAA Technical.
SAA Technical provides all major maintenance for SAA, as well as a number of major European, African and Middle Eastern airlines.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, SAA said it had been infiltrated by an international crime syndicate that had looted hundreds of millions of rands through questionable tenders which include the supply of “possibly suspect” parts.
It added that a massive investigation involving international law enforcement and aviation regulatory authorities was underway into a sophisticated syndicate which includes senior SAA procurement executives.
The investigation comes at a difficult time for South African Airways which continues to face financial troubles.
One of the proposed measures to help stem these financial losses is a merger between South African Airways, Mango and SA Express.
In September the Department of Public Enterprises said that it has completed a study on the merger, finding that a merger would be beneficial in the consolidation of the three airlines, and would lead to greater cost savings.
It added that the document which supports the consolidation is currently being reviewed by the government’s economic cluster and will soon head to cabinet for consideration.
Acting Interim CEO of SA Express, Siza Mzimela, said that she fully supported the integration of the airlines, but what is of critical importance is how the merger is put together.