Regional airlines SA Express and SA Airlink have suspended flights between Johannesburg and Mthatha.
This comes after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) downgraded the Mthatha airport's operational status with immediate effect.
The airport has been downgraded from a category 4 to a category 3 airport, meaning that it has to cut down the size of its operations.
The regulator claims that the downgrade is the interest of safety for all passengers and crew.
Their fire and rescue facilities, as well as their emergency response plan, do not meet our standards.— Phindiwe Gwebu, Executive for corporate services at South African Civil Aviation Authority
The CAA's Phindiwe Gwebuthe explains that the affected airlines have the option to use smaller aircrafts if they wish to continue operating on the route.
The airport is no longer able to accommodate the same type and level of aviation activity that it used to.— Phindiwe Gwebu, Executive for corporate services at South African Civil Aviation Authority
As the CAA, we believe the airport facilities are not up to scratch and would not be able to cater for that number of people.— Phindiwe Gwebu, Executive for corporate services at South African Civil Aviation Authority
Airlink says it will be working with Mthatha officials to re-accommodate its passengers and implement an interim solution.
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : SA Express and SA Airlink suspend flights to and from Mthatha airport