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Mbalula: Plane groundings a normal occurrence in aviation industry

This week, Comair and the South African Airways grounded some planes operating between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

FILE: Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Following two days of flight disruptions and aircraft groundings, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said things were now back to normal.

Forty of the 44 flights grounded earlier this week are now back in the skies.

Comair and the South African Airways grounded some planes operating between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban this week, leaving several travellers stranded.

They said it was a precautionary measure following oversight inspections by the Civil Aviation Authority while certain Mango flights were also affected.

Mbalula said plane groundings were a normal occurrence in the aviation industry, reiterating that there was no crisis in industry.

He admitted, however, that a lack of communication led to the confusion during this week’s groundings.

“Flights are grounded, you blame it on government’s disorganisation. We’ve got a responsibility to communicate to the public as to why are planes are grounded, why penalties are imposed.”

CAA CEO Poppy Khoza said they recommended the groundings as a precautionary measure.

“We don’t discuss aviation safety and security when there’s an imminent danger at your doorstep, you act and this is exactly what we do.”

Khoza said the authority's priority was to ensure that passenger planes that were safe.

WATCH: Minister Fikile Mbalula briefs media on the state of the aviation industry