In a spectacular display of ineptitude and indifference to Plett’s major industry, tourism, Bitou Municipality has failed to comply with the most basic requirements to keep our airport CAA certified, and thus open to commercial flights.
CemAir has announced they have reluctantly been forced to suspend flights to Plettenberg Bay due to our airport no longer being certified due to fire and security issues and all commercial flights are immediately suspended.
“The records show that the reason for suspension is the ongoing failure of the airport to address outstanding issues for SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority) inspections, some several years old. Bitou Municipality has both a statutory and contractual obligation to correct the issues, however has not done so.” according to CemAir.
“Although CemAir has on numerous occasions offered to assist with the resolution of issues as well as the management of the airport and provision of essential training for Airport and Fire Fighting staff, the majority of these offers and proposals were ignored and went unanswered by Bitou Municipality,” said CemAir.
Two years ago the airport fire sub-station was half-built but fully paid for. The contractor never finished the job, with no steps taken to recover the money or to hold the people responsible to account.
According to Ratepayers’ Association board member Steve Pattinson, “There were talks taking place yesterday with all parties, but as of yet we do not know whether we can find a solution. That’s all we can say at the moment. The resolution of the CAA actions will be costly and it will require investment from all parties, including Bitou, CemAir and VRST. The issue with VRST is that they have no contract and although they are keen to invest, they will not do so until they have assurances of their ongoing role at the airport.”
Plettenberg Bay has not had Jet A1 available for a month, and is on its last drops of Avgas, but that situation will soon be remedied.
A further CAA inspection is scheduled for November.