By Johan Pretorius
Cemair CEO Miles van der Molen has expressed his delight at the public response to the re-instated service between Margate Airport and OR Tambo International. He told eHowzit that since the resumption of the flights on Friday and Sunday, Cemair had already transported more than 5o people between the two airports. “Margate has always been our favourite destination, and is the reason why we began our flights to that airport. We have always had great support from the people of the South Coast, and this has continued, for which we are genuinely grateful. Cemair has resumed its service where it left off, and are looking forward to increasing our flights, especially over the holiday season, to two flights per day.” Mr. Van der Molen said Cemair was committed ‘to contribute whatever is necessary for a better tomorrow’.
Cemair’s first flight in nearly a year landed at Margate airport on Friday afternoon. The Dash 8 Q 300 was piloted by Cemair CEO and owner Miles van der Molen. His wife Laura and their young son accompanied the passengers on the flight. Both expressed their delight to take part in the resumption of the service to what they regard as their favourite destination. The return flight left at just before five with the first batch of passengers of the re-instated Cemair flights going to Johannesburg. See earlier report below for details on future flights.
Cemair’s first flight to Margate since the South African Civil Aviation Association gave it permission to fly again, will land at Margate airport at 4.30 on Friday afternoon 8 November. The return flight to Oliver Tambo International Airport will be at 5 o’clock the same afternoon.
Cemair management told eHowzit that the initial resumed schedule would start off with flights both ways on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and that daily flights would commence as from 4 December to cater for the holiday season. Depending on demand, there would then be more than one flight per day both ways. Cemair has recommitted itself to serve the South Coast Community which it regards as its prime priority. It referred eHowzit to a statement issued on 18 October giving perspective on why the popular service was suspended causing serious disruption and inconvenience. Cemair pointed out that it had been extremely unfairly treated by the CAA, as confirmed by the CAA’s appeal committee:
“As communicated previously, on 29 April 2019 the Civil Aviation Appeal Committee found that CemAir was illegally grounded by the SACAA on 11 January 2019. Despite the uncontested judgement, CemAir was unable to resume operations due to the natural annual expiry of the aircraft operating certificates on 28 January 2019. The processing of the renewal by the SACAA was finalized yesterday.
We respect the authority and decisions of the Civil Aviation Appeal Committee, an independent panel constituted by the Department of Transport to adjudicate the actions of the SACAA. Their 82-page judgement comprehensively deals with all allegations made by and all suspension notices issued by the SACAA. We note the contents of the SACAA’s press releases and highlight with concern the inconsistencies between these statements and the 29 April 2019 judgement. The SACAA’s website continues to display inflammatory media releases, the contents of which have been proven to be false and in contravention of the Civil Aviation Act under which the SACAA is constituted. A copy of the full judgement is available at www.flycemair.co.za .
CemAir is the only truly independent scheduled airline operating regional aircraft and provides services to smaller towns and regional centres. The airline is privately owned and receives no subsidy or funding from the State but rather contributes considerably to tax revenue. In February 2019 we employed more than 310 staff and was the only airline connecting Margate and Plettenberg Bay to major centres. We voluntarily participated in the IOSA programme, the global gold standard benchmark safety standard for airlines devised by IATA, and we have enjoyed an impeccable safety record across all operations.
We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience caused throughout this ordeal. We realize that many thousands of travellers were stranded and hundreds of jobs lost directly and indirectly as a result of the SACAA’s illegal actions. We continue to process refunds and can now (at a customer’s election) offer a credit towards future travel.
We thank all those who stood by us through this difficult time. We look forward to your continued support as we re-establish our services.”
Pricing and flight schedules on: