Tag Archives: AviationNewsSA

2 Squadron Gains Two New Gripen Pilots

Air force Base Makhado situated in the shadows of the Soutpansberg mountain range,is home to fighter town South Africa.Where the South African Airforces elite fighter squadrons are based,85 Combat Flying School flying the lead in fighter trainer the Hawk MK120.2 Squadron which is the sharp end of the SAAF,flying the smart fighter,The JAS39 Gripen!

Early May 2020 saw two new Gripen pilots going solo,Major Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona and Captain Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo. Their story below will show the hard work one has to take to get to Gripen and living the fast jet life dream.

Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona

Major Jabulani Mabona was born in a township called Mamelodi West, Pretoria East. He attended Primary school at Ndima PrimarySchool (year) and matriculated at Vukani Mawethu Secondary School in 2004.
Major Mabona became interested in being a pilot when he was 9 years old. “There was no other career that I considered pursuing apart from becoming a pilot, specifically a fighter pilot.” He started applying when he was doing grade 11 and only got an acceptance letter to do the selection process in 2006.

The selection process included psychometric tests, psychomotor tests, flight medicals followed by interviews. His military career began when he was accepted to commence his Basic Military training in January 2007 and right after a successful completion commenced with Officers Forming Course in July the same year.

In 2008 he enrolled at the SA Military Academy in Saldanha, he spent a year studying Technology and Defence Mangement, which included modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics. In 2009 January he had to go through Land and Sea Survival Training followed by Ground School Training for flying. In 2010 he started with his basic Ab initio Training in Cessna 172, followed by Astra stationed at AFB Langebaanweg. He was then selected to complete his pilot training in the United States of America where he flew the Texan T6 and qualified as a military pilot giving him the opportunity to be selected to fly Jets.

Jabulani was trained by former United States Air force F16 Viper Demonstration pilot Captain John “Rain” Waters.

Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
US Airforce T6 Texan II
US Airforce T6 Texan II
Former United States Airforce F16 Viper display Demo Pilot Captain
John “Rain” Waters who was Major Mabona’s Instructor!
United States Airforce F16 Viper

In 2012 he went back to Military Academy to complete his degree in Defence and Technology Management which he successfully completed in 2015. In 2016 he was transferred to 85 Combat Flying School where he began to train as a fighter pilot in Hawk MK120 and a year later successfully completed the course. He served as a Flight Commander and was selected to do Flight Leaders Course which he completed in December 2019. He was then transferred to 2 Squadron in January 2020 where he began Operational Conversion Course in the SAAB JAS 39 where he currently serves as a Survival officer”.

Jabulani Flying the Hawk MK120 during a capability demo at the 2017 Rand Easter Show,Nasrec Johannesburg.
“Seraph” & “Cyrax” airborne out of AFB Swartkop during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow!
Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson & Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow.

The challenges he encountered were being far from his family and being able to successfully complete each and every phase towards achieving his goal.He has served in the South African Air Force for 13 years has never looked back. While he was stationed at 85 Combat Flying School had the opportunity to serve as a Survival Officer and a Flight Commander.
He says; “my solo flight in a Gripen was such an astounding feeling, a feeling out of this world, especially the supersonic part of the flight.”

SAAB JAS39C Gripen
Gripen Solo Flight
Jabulani after his Gripen solo with Lieutenant Colonel Jaco “Weasel” Labuschagne

Major Mabona is 32 years old and married to Nomsa and together they have a beautiful daughter Njabulo. He says flying high speed jets is such an honor and comes with lots of responsibilities because you fly with live weapons onboard and also fly in close proximity with other jets. He says his family always supported him and they are the ones that are always boosting his confidence level when it comes to his career.
To further on his career, the next step will be Instructor’s Course so that he can also give back to the young men and women which are aspiring to become fighter pilots.

Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.

Lastly he says “all the instructors that were part of my development for me to become a fighter pilot are my mentors. Before every flight, preparation is key, you go through your procedures, you play the scenarios in your head and most importantly you prepare for all the possible emergencies that you might experience.

Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo

Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo approaches with a plan of crafting an aviation legacy that the South African Air Force (SAAF) and this country can be proud of. When asked to introduce himself Captain Naidoo call sign Ronin said “Born: 17/06/1992 at Westville hospital, residing in Reservoir Hills initially, turn 5 and started school at Resmount Primary School.

We moved to Pinetown and I moved to Atholl Heights Primary School for grade 1 and 2, my dad then moved to Johannesburg for work and we followed, staying in Centurion and completing primary school in Laerskool Uitsig, moved to Hoerskool Uitsig followed by Pro Arte Alphen Park and finally completing my high school career at Reservoir Hills Secondary School in 2009.

In my childhood we spent a lot of time moving to new places and schools due to my dad’s, Kuban Naidoo, work in telecommunications. My mum, Ron Naidoo, is now a retired hairdresser and in my unbiased opinion is the best hairdresser in the world. I have two older sisters, Kelly and Robyn, who are great support, throughout my childhood and adult life, although the role of my super fan falls to my mum.

Growing up I spent a lot of time playing sports for schools, such as swimming, played competitively in rugby, cricket and softball. Presently I spend a lot of time at the gym and try to keep fit by running. The scariest thing I’ve done was the big swing at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, I consider bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikama rainforest to have been easier. The most exciting thing I’ve done professionally thus far is when I took up a Gripen solo and broke the sound barrier sending down a bone rattling sonic boom over my awaiting wife.”

From an avid nomadic, together with his family, his military career is a gift that he does not take for granted. “At the end of my schooling career I sought out bursaries in order to study further in the fields of engineering or medicine as well as applying for pilot training in the SAAF. In 2010 upon receiving the call for pilots’ selections in the SAAF I had declined the bursaries I was offered for the other fields of studies, not realising that it was just a selection week and not actually accepted.

The SAAF selection is a four tier selection process, each eliminating potential candidates as you progress through. The first part is the paper selection, wherein you either download the form from the internet, or cut it out the newspaper it appears in early every year. Submitting the required information in the leaflet with all matric/ grade 11 results all the applications go to SAAF HQ and are scrutinized to select the best candidates for the job, once that process is completed, the successful candidates are contacted by to make arrangements to attend a week long selection camp.
At the second-tier process, all members are split into groups and go through a process of psychometric and psychomotor testing.
In the third process, a full flight medical examination is required.
The final step is a panel interview in front of high-ranking specialists at the SAAF HQ.

Although a long process, it is to allow only the best candidates to make it through to the training, from initial paper selection of thousands to only about 20 people being selected and finally only 9 qualifying from pilots’ wings course.” He said.

In January 2011, his humble beginnings in the ranks and military industry proved, thus far to be a firm foundation for the amazing military aviation. “I was called up for Basic Military Training at the SAAF Gym in Hoedspruit. It was a gruelling 6 months – taking a civilian and making a soldier. In June 2011, I started officers forming course at the SAAF College in Pretoria, this involved 6 months of cramming policy and standards expected from an Officer and a gentleman.

SAAF Gymnasium

In 2012, I enrolled at the Military Academy in Saldanha. I spent a year studying Technology and Defence Management, which include modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics, achieving a certificate of higher education.
Before advancing to Langebaanweg for further training, two weeks of gruelling basic survival training was required, this included sea survival, coastal survival and land survival. The most daunting part of the experience involved the escape and evasion component of land survival training.

In 2013, I started ground school at Langebaanweg and later that year began flying the SAAF PC7 MK2, well known for being the aircraft flown by the Aerobatic Display Team of the SAAF, The Silver Falcons. The course consisted of ground school theoretical training in the following fields:

Pilatus PC7MKII

Aerodynamics (including high speed, rotary wing and multi engine aerodynamics)

Aviation law

Medicine

Aircraft technical

General aspects related to flying and aviation.

The flying training consisted of basic general flying, basic instrument flying, advanced general flying, advanced instrument flying, navigation, close formation and a “Wings Phase” which incorporated aspects from all the preceding ones.

Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII

Once all phases were over and all test results were tallied up another selection board is held to stream pilots into one of the three lines in the air force: Maritime and Transport, Helicopter systems or Combat Systems. The directors of the three lines would there decide on the path that each pilot would then follow, taking into consideration the members preference, but ultimately selecting you on your course performance, attitude and perceived potential. I graduated as a pilot in the Air Force in December 2014 and was streamed to the fighter line.” He opined.

While expanding on his career path, formal education was still his goal. He relates that he has a massive respect for education as the SAAF does, and through education and the SAAF he has had fun serving with the most brilliant of minds and continually travels the world. “In 2015, and early 2016, I continued studies toward my degree at the military academy and flying at Langebaanweg whilst waiting to be transferred to 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.

I, together with 3 other members, moved to Makhado in April 2016 to begin training to become fighter pilots. Which upon arrival was met by another week of survival training exercise in Port Saint Johns, after which we have yearly survival training due to the nature of our job.

Our fighter training was done on the BAE Systems Hawk LIFT Mk120 and the courses consisted of Hawk Conversion Course, a condensed version of what I had done on the PC7 MK2, followed by Operational Training Course. With the ability to fly the aircrafts, we were taught how to use it as a weapon by delivering various ammunitions and being trained in various aspects of Air and Surface warfare, so we could be utilised in operational roles in the SAAF. After a year of consolidation flying, two candidates were selected to complete Flight Leaders Course, Major Jabulani Jerry Mabona and myself. FLC was completed in November 2019.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet”
Armed Forces Day Capability Demonstration De Brug Weapons Range Bloemfontein February 2018
Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.
SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

As Flight Leaders we were then eligible to be transferred to 2 Squadron and begin Operational Conversion Course on the SAAB JAS39C/D Gripen. I completed my first solo flight in the Gripen on May 5th, 2020, a first for an Indian South African Fighter Pilot.

SAAB JAS39D Gripen

In 2010, I met my wife, Marcia Naidoo, but had only really started speaking too her in 2012, being in the western cape and her in KZN it wasn’t often I got a chance to see her, unless it was a trip home to see the family. We started dating in 2013 and even though had such distance between us the relationship grew to me finally proposing in 2017 and tying the knot in September 2018. Throughout my flying career she’s been a keystone to my support, from not being able to fly a thing to taking to the skies in a modern fighter jet, with all the good and the bad she would be there, either the most excited or ready to throw down with anyone that may have gotten me upset. Although I’m the soldier she’s the tougher of the two of us.

As a youngster I’d always been fascinated by flying, from as early as my second birthday it was evident that I wanted to be a pilot, my parents had gotten me an aircraft cake and dressed me up in a white suit. Being from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) I didn’t know it was a possibility for me to be an air force fighter pilot, as there’s not much publicity for the defence force in the KZN community. It was by chance that I happened across a leaflet in the newspaper and my mum had made further inquiries. It was only then that I had decided that I was going to be a fighter pilot in the SAAF. Hard work and perseverance will always pay off.”

He was sure adamant to wear the SAAF uniform and inspire confidence, thus he hastens to say that he keeps himself busy with researching on everything that has to do with the latest aviation technology while mastering the art of being a proud fighter pilot. “There’s still a long road ahead of me to complete Operational Conversion Course on the Gripen and becoming the best Fighter pilot at the SAAF. At some stage in the distant future I will go down to Langebaanweg once again and do pilot Instructors’ Course and give training to the future pilots of the SAAF. Thereafter returning to 85 Combat Flying School for pilot attack instructors’ course on the hawk and move over to give instruction to aspiring fighter pilots in training on the Gripen as well.

Hawk MK120 MK82 Bombing run,Roodewal bombing range Limpopo

What I’d like to say to aspiring SAAF pilots is that nothing comes easy, but nothing is impossible, follow the procedures laid out and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s often said on courses that individuals don’t pass the course, those who work together, find motivation in themselves and their peers to complete the course together. Work hard in school in physics and maths, be a good person and never stop trying.

Through this journey I’ve seen it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your skin colour is or what school you went to, what matter is the work you put in. I have come from many places but now I am Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo, a fighter pilot in the SAAF.” He concluded

Ice cold bath after Klydes Gripen Solo

Well done to Ronin and Cyrax,we wish you many more happy and safe flying hours,from all of us at Aviation Central.

Completion of Gripen solo and traditional ice cold bath at 2 Squadron

SAA Board And Management Congratulate Crew For Wuhan Repatriation

 The board and management of South African Airways (SAA) wishes to thank and congratulate the SAA crew who flew the chartered aircraft which repatriated citizens from Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated.

The crew and 112 South Africans were cleared to return to their families on Sunday after testing negative for the coronavirus in a second round of tests since their arrival from Wuhan, China.

Acting chairperson of the SAA board, Thandeka Mgoduso said that by agreeing to be in an SAA charter flight evacuating the nationals from Wuhan, the crew exemplified the spirit of Ubuntu and Thuma Mina, whose ethos is that the greatest responsibility for us all is humility, discipline, empathy, generosity and volunteerism.

“We thank The Almighty, the SAA crew, members of the South African National Defence Force and the medical team from the Department of Health, that none of the repatriated South Africans have tested positive for COVID-19 after they were quarantined for 14 days. We further thank the staff at The Ranch for courageously and caringly looking after the whole group that returned from Wuhan.

“Even though they may have had concerns and anxieties about the possibility of contracting the virus, it is clear that the call to national duty superseded all these anxieties. They adhered to the strict medical advice and protocols and took all the precautionary measures before, during and after the repatriation.

“Emerging from the quarantine period with no CODIV 19 infection, our crew can now play a vital role in conscientizing and advising their communities in South Africa, about the importance of observing the strict medical advice and the wisdom of adhering to the publicised protocols. They are now not only SAA ambassadors but also change agents for curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

“At SAA, we are grateful for and proud of their kindness, empathy and spirit of volunteerism and a strong sense of national responsibility. Their resilience and ability to rise to the challenge and withstand the rigours of the mission and the further quarantining after arriving in the country; are highly commendable. 

“Their willingness to give their time and talent is greatly appreciated. This behaviour and commitment to doing what is right, has set a good example for everyone in the country, as we all struggle with the early stages of the pandemic.

“Their compassion and willingness to heed the call for national duty must be an inspiration for us all. It must encourage all of us to want to be part of the solution in combating the scourge of the coronavirus. We congratulate and applaud them,” said Mgoduso.

46 Years Ago-The Atlas C4M Kudu took to the skies!

This past February this year 46 years ago, on 16 February 1974, the prototype Atlas AL60-C4M Kudu flew for the first time. The aircraft was registered ZS-IZF and had the Manufacturers Serial Number 001.

Atlas C4M Kudu Lanseria during the 1970s

It took to the air shortly after 09.30 from Jan Smuts Airport, having been built at the Atlas Aircraft Corporation complex, the home of the fledgling South African Aircraft Industry at the time. The pilot was the Atlas Chief Test Pilot Mr.A.J.(Butch) Bester with the Flight Observer Mr.R.A.J.Steel. The flight lasted an hour and twenty minutes.

Atlas Aircraft Coporation

The aircraft was powered by a 340hp Avco-Lycoming-Piaggio GSO-480-B1B3 piston engine, though this was not the engine of choice for the SAAF. They had requested either a 425hp Lycoming engine or a 435hp Teledyne-Continental engine but altering the aircraft to accept the more powerful engine would have delayed the delivery of the aircraft quite considerably. Turbine engines were not considered, the feeling being that maintenance in the field would be difficult.

The impression also existed that a piston engine was more robust and therefore better suited for military operations. As the programme was already significantly behind schedule, the Chief of the Air Force accepted the specifications of the aircraft without alteration on 21 March 1972.

Although ZS-IZF was the first Kudu to fly, the first aircraft delivered to the Air Force was SAAF Serial 960 which initially flew as ZS-IZG. It was to fulfil the role of Military Prototype. The SAAF acceptance flight of this aircraft took place on 21 August 1974. Its delivery flight to the SAAF took place on 24 February 1975.

Atlas Kudu ZS-IZF
SAAF Kudu ‘994’

The last Kudu handed over to the SAAF was officially recorded as 997 on 31 August 1979. It flew to its new home unit on 4 September 1979. ZS-IZF continued to serve as a developmental aircraft flying with both Atlas Aircraft Corporation and the Test Flight and Development Centre of the SAAF. It was allocated the SAAF serial 999.

Both ZS-IZF and 999 were used in documentation during the 1980s. The registration ZS-IZF was eventually cancelled on 4 November 1985, the aircraft being listed in the CAA records as having been donated to the SAAF.

Atlas Kudu ZU-BSV
SAAF Museum Atlas C4M Kudu

It is interesting to note that although ZS-IZF was the first Kudu to fly, it was the last Kudu to be received by the SAAF.

When the Kudus were withdrawn from SAAF service, 999 was returned to its civilian lifestyle as ZS-WXF, registered as such on 15 October 1991. Years later ZS-WXF was drawn into the Angels Way Trust turboprop conversion programme and proudly flew again for the first time on 22 October 2009 as ZS-WXF Atlas Angel “Gabriel”, the original airframe that flew for the first time today 37 years ago.

Atlas Angel at Sua Pan Botswana 2019
Atlas Angel ZU-BTN

The first of the Atlas Angels to fly however was ZU-BSV “Michael” which took to the skies on 23 May 2009.

Kudu ZS-WWO
Kudu ZS-WYA

Long may Atlas Angels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Daniel continue spreading their wings for the skydiving fraternity in South Africa with the power plants they always deserved – 726shp Walter M601D Turbines (flat rated to 550shp).

Today as the now Turbine powered Atlas Nagel can been seen at various Skydiving clubs around South Africa.

SA Express announces that it will suspend operations from 18 March 2020 until further notice.

17 March 2020, Johannesburg. In light of adverse recent developments including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SA Express announces that it will suspend operations from 18 March 2020 until further notice. 
 
This decision will impact both SA Express customers and staff in the following manner:
 
•           All customers will be accommodated on alternative flights
•           All non-critical SA Express staff will be placed on compulsory leave during this time
 
The airline will utilise this period to review its current network and streamline operations for improved efficiency. 
 
SA Express will provide communication on any additional developments in due course. 

SAA Adheres To World Health Organisation And IATA Protocols On COVID-19 Coronavirus

JOHANNESBURG, 12 March 2020 – South African Airways (SAA) assures customers that its operational health and safety procedures adhere to the World Health Organisation’s protocols to protect its customers and crew from contracting the COVID-19 (coronavirus) while flying with SAA.

SAA follows procedures, advice and guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Civil Aviation Authorities as well as the airports and customs authorities’ directives to ensure the safety of its customers.

“The safety, health and wellbeing of our customers and crew is a number one priority.  To ensure their wellbeing, we adhere to the following procedures:

·       To clean the aircraft, SAA uses the disinfectants, which have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are effective against the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

·       The cleaning protocols our teams use to clean our aircraft have been intensified and focus among other things,  on high frequent touch points such as handles, seatbelt buckles, tray tables and armrests.

·       Hard surfaces such as lavatories, galley units and window shades are also thoroughly cleaned with multi-purpose cleaners.

·       The Airbus fleet is equipped with state-of-the-art, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that sift out and remove dust, bacteria, allergens and other unhygienic particles.

·       SAA crew have been trained to handle situations involving communicable diseases or any other medical emergencies on board and they work closely with ground and inflight expert medical assistance.

·        All our aircraft are loaded with bio-hazardous spill kits in case of a contamination event (or to handle a contamination event) and cleaning materials.

“We assess all our passengers and advise that if they are feeling ill, they need to follow recommendations offered by medical professionals,” SAA said in a statement.

SAA said that although it is following customs limits and guidelines, passengers are welcome to travel with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers.

SAA crew use officially approved and industry recognised disinfectants on all flights. Cabin crew (Flight attendants) use gloves sanctioned by the food industry.  The airline uses sanitation procedures for all domestic, regional and international flights.  Should a passenger show any respiratory symptoms on board, i.e. coughing, sneezing, our crew will provide a surgical mask to the passenger to prevent transmission of micro-organisms.

Should health authorities inform the airline that a person who travelled with SAA exhibited coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft will be taken out of service and put through a decontamination process.

While SAA takes all the necessary steps to ensure that their customers enjoy a healthy flying experience, the airline advises customers to also take precautions to stay healthy while flying.

The Global recommended Precautionary tips include:

  • Wash hands with soap often;
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after touching any surface;
  • Avoid touching eyes, face and nose;
  • Avoid contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible and
  • Stay home if sick.

We thank customers for the support by continuing to place their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans.

Stellenbosch Ready for First Airshow for the Season in South Africa

The South African Airshow Season is ready to fly off with the first airshow for 2020 in Stellenbosh, home of many famous wine farms, the Stellenbosch Flying Club and a long awaited airshow in the Western Cape for many Aviation enthusiasts!

Team Extreme

Stellenbosch Flying Club. Building on the success of 2019, FASHKOSH 2020 will be bigger and more exciting – held over two days, from 20 to 21 March 2020.

Directions

Fridays Airshow will also see a evening display from the Puma Flying Lions, which will be performing for the first time at Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch Airshow 2020

Other South African Airshow favorites such as Team Extreme, Goodyear Eagles Pitts, Boeing Stearman and many more will take part in the show.

Goodyear Pitts Special S2B

The South African Airforce which are celebrating their centenary this year will have a 2 Squadron Gripen, also a first for Stellenbosch, the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team led by New team leader Major Sivu Tangana and 22 Squadron will support with a Super Lynx 300 maritime patrol helicopter.

SAAB Gripen Fighter Jet
Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team

The program is still full of surprises including two different airliner displays which make great photo opportunities with the mountain backdrop.

22 Squadron Lynx 300

Gates are open at 8am both Friday and Saturday.

Mango Boeing 737-800

Tickets can be purchased at https://www.viagogo.co.za/Theatre-Tickets/Shows-and-Awards/Stellenbosch-Airshow-Tickets

CAASA Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) – 4th Quarter Embargo: 21 February 2020

CAASA Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) – 4th Quarter
Embargo: 21 February 2020 (10:00)
Introduction


The Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) is proud to announce the results of its composite index of aviation activity for the 4th quarter of 2019.


The CAASA Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) is based on 26 different indicators and
provides an objective & balanced gauge of economic activity in the commercial aviation industry. Due to the short-term volatility inherent in purchasing and selling aircraft, where
units are small, but the currency values are very high, the CAAI includes a trend that is based on a 4-quarter moving average, as illustrated by the graph.


Summary of key trends depicted by the CAAI for the 4th quarter of 2019:

  1. The index value increased substantially from the 3rd quarter to reach a level of
    130.7, which represents a 31% increase in commercial aviation activity since the
    base period (1st quarter of 2014). This is, however, considerably lower than the
    all-time record that was attained in the 4th quarter of 2018, namely 204. One of
    the reasons for the sound recovery of both the index value and the trend is
    related to the highly successful 2018 Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD)
    exhibition, which was the first AAD since the election of a new executive
    administration in South Africa, which is committed to pragmatic policies to
    encourage economic growth, whilst also combating the scourge of corruption.

An encouraging feature of the latest CAAI results is the fact that, after adjustment
for inflationary effects, the commercial aviation industry has outperformed the
South African economy over the past six years.

  1. It is also apparent that the slump in aviation activity that lasted for eleven
    quarters (until the 3rd quarter of 2018) has been reversed. Aviation remains a
    highly capital intensive sector and it has been under some strain as a result of
    policy uncertainty, low levels of business confidence, lethargic economic growth
    and high interest rates.
  2. Unfortunately, the recovery in the trend of activity since the 3rd quarter of 2018
    has been accompanied by a higher level of volatility, with only ten of the 26
    different indicators recording gains over the 4th quarter of 2014.
  3. A particular point of concern is the poor performance of air traffic movements
    (ATMs) at most of the airports managed by the Airports Company of South Africa
    (ACSA). All nine of these airports recorded lower ATMs in the 4th quarter of 2019,
    compared to the 4th quarter of 2016.
  4. In contrast, the six non-ACSA airports included in the CAAI, recorded consistent
    growth in ATMs until the first quarter of 2019, but a noticeable slump has since
    set in. It is quite clear that the stringent visa regulations that were introduced in
    2015 by the Department of Home Affairs under then Minister Malusi Gigaba have
    taken their toll on both the South African tourism industry and the commercial
    aviation industry.
  5. In the 4th quarter of 2019, the value of aircraft spares imports reached its second
    highest level on record, namely more than R1.1 billion.

Total aircraft imports (unladen mass of under 15 tonnes) amounted to R487
million in the 4th quarter, slightly lower than the export figure of R554 million.

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