Aviation expert Linden Birns has warned that suspending operations at South African Airways is going to be a costly exercise.
The struggling airline’s operations were suspended and put under care and maintenance this week by the SAA Business Rescue Practitioners. This while the airline funding options are being discussed.
Birns says mothballing the airline and then re-starting can be a very expensive process. For the aircraft, it is not just a simple matter of parking the plane and putting a dust cover over the engine.
Birns says there are lots of components and systems that require constant maintenance, often more intensive, when a plane is parked for a prolonged period instead of being flown.
“Mothballing means stopping all activity and deactivating all equipment and putting everything in a state of preservation for when activity can be resumed. There are also many components on aircrafts that have specific calendar shelve lives after which they have to be replaced or serviced in order to remain safe and for purpose.”
He adds: “And then there are implications for the flight crew who have to maintain their licenses and in order to do so have to have recurring training and so mothballing can be a very expensive exercise especially for an airline.”