‘Poor airports infrastructure making it hard for SA Airlink to operate’

The airline says its aircraft have difficulty landing and taking off at the Mthatha and Polokwane airports.

FILE: SA Airlink says it’s concerned about more lighting problems as winter approaches. Picture: flyairlink.com

JOHANNESBURG - SA Airlink says poor infrastructure at some airports in the country is making it extremely difficult for it to operate safely.

The airline says its aircraft have experienced difficulty landing and taking off at the Mthatha Airport and Polokwane International Airport for years, due to the lack of maintenance.

SA Airlink says it is frustrated with the Eastern Cape Transport Department's silence.

The airline says it has had to constantly divert flights due to poor lighting on the runway at Mthatha Airport.

The airline's Rodger Foster said, "Each time we have a plane diverting, it costs the company hundreds of thousands of rands; it happens frequently at both of destinations and it is a source of immense frustration."

The Eastern Cape Transport Department's Ncedo Kumbaca says it is aware of the lighting problems, but believes planes can still land and take-off.

He says this has only been an issues for a few months.

"It is about the lights that were put there that were not conducive for the airport itself. As such, we are installing new lights. They started two weeks ago."

SA Airlink says it's concerned about more lighting problems as winter approaches.