The South African Airways (SAA) flight, which is picking up the second batch of Johnson&Johnson vaccines for South Africa, has landed in Brussels, reports eNCA.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Thursday morning on social media, that the flight had started to get the 80,000 vaccines.
While concerns about the cost of the flight to Brussels and back with vaccines only have been raised, Mbalula said the flight would come back with « other cargo » as well.
The flight is expected back in South Africa on Saturday. The flight originally scheduled for Sunday was delayed after the South African Aviation Authority (Sacaa) granted permission to fly to Brussels later than expected.
This after Sacaa requested more information from SAA in order to consider the application, said the public enterprise division and denied that the flight was denied permission altogether.
The Sacaa said it delayed processing the application after asking the operator to provide more details on some of the risk mitigation measures.
« The concern the SACAA had with the original exemption application was related to the timeliness of its flight deck crew, whereby the applicant did not provide adequate information on mitigation measures.
» It is important to note that timeliness is an important safety requirement for pilots is as set out in the Civil Aviation Regulations.
“It must also be noted en that the operator, d. H. SAA, voluntarily ceased operations some time ago. However, this does not mean that they have handed over their Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to the SACAA. In this regard, their AOC remains in effect despite having temporarily suspended their operations.
“With this in mind, any operator who does not operate regular flights or whose aircraft for one reason or another are not in regular service is expected that he is performing the necessary maintenance on the aircraft, including maintaining and operating the service, « Sacaa said.
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