Airlink announced it has suspended its Polokwane services with immediate effect.
The airline revealed that South African Civil Aviation Authority (“SACAA”) advised on Tuesday night that Polokwane International Airport had been de-categorised to CAT2, which is below the minimum level required for scheduled commercial air services.
The statement read: "The current status of the airport presents as an operational safety concern and it would be illegal to operate scheduled services at the airport. It is regrettable that the airport did not advise Airlink of the impending threat of de-categorisation and its inability to provide the minimum level of emergency services required to maintain its aerodrome license category."
Airlink said it explored all options, including the possibility of operating at the Pietersburg Civil Aerodrome, which allegedly also offers no rescue fire fighting services and is unable to accept scheduled commercial flights.
"Airlink management will work with Polokwane airport management to establish when the airport will address its non-compliances and regain the minimum category required to accommodate scheduled commercial air services.
"In the circumstances, unfortunately, and most regrettably, Airlink has had to cancel its services today, Wednesday, April 7. We are unable to ascertain at this stage whether the airport will meet the minimum requirements for future services. Customers will be contacted directly, and an update will be provided as soon as Airlink receives more information from the Polokwane airport.
“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of this service. Customers holding confirmed tickets on the cancelled flights should contact their booking agent, tour operator or Airlink Reservations on 011 451 7300 and for refunds email [email protected]” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.