Restoring of Plett Airport takes off
PLETTENBERG BAY - Work on upgrading the Plettenberg Bay Airport is in full swing after a recent downgrade led to airline operator CemAir suspending all of its flights with immediate effect.
After the airport was downgraded by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), CemAir, that had been offering commercial flights between Plett and major city centres for the past seven years, said the downgrade had put the airport below the minimum category required for its flights to be allowed. According to SACAA records, the reason for the suspension was the ongoing failure of the airport to address outstanding issues from inspections, some several years old. In a joint statement made following a series of meetings between all interested parties, the Bitou Municipality and CemAir said they were entering into a binding agreement to restore the Plettenberg Bay Airport licence and return CemAir's scheduled airline flights to the airport. "In terms of the agreement, CemAir will engage with the SACAA to, jointly with the Bitou Municipality, manage the process of rectifying all identified nonconformances. As the owner of the airport, the municipality will provide its full cooperation and support to expedite this process," the statement read.
"Although some work on the resolution of issues has already begun, the signing of this cooperation agreement will allocate additional resources from CemAir to resolve the identified shortcomings, allowing the airport to once again meet the safety compliance requirements as soon as possible."
They hope that, with the support of the SACAA, it would be possible to recommence commercial flights to Plettenberg Bay in October. "The Bitou Municipality commits to create an enabling environment for the speedy resolution of this matter to ensure that CemAir continues to provide commercial flights," the Bitou communications team said. "The duration of the agreement between the two parties will allow for the implementation of the council resolution to outsource the management of the airport to a suitably qualified private party through an open and transparent tender process. We appreciate the support of the community and firmly believe this is a good example of how public and private sectors can work together for the benefit of all. Additional updates will be provided as progress is made on this initiative."