South African CAA to intensify Airlink audit after ERJ incident

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South Africa's civil aviation authority is intensifying an audit of regional carrier Airlink, after it suffered its third serious incident since mid-September, but does not appear intent on grounding the carrier.

One of Airlink's Embraer ERJ-135s overran the runway at George Airport, in the south of the country, suffering substantial damage to its forward fuselage. None of the 33 occupants was injured.

The accident follows the fatal loss of a British Aerospace Jetstream at Durban in September and an incident last month in which another Jetstream veered off the runway at Port Elizabeth.

A spokeswoman for the South African Civil Aviation Authority says that the regulator is carrying out an "intensified audit" of maintenance, operations and training at Airlink - a process initiated after the September crash.

She says that the authority is "working very closely with the operator to rectify deficiencies picked up in the audit".

But the spokeswoman indicates that the CAA is not prepared, at least at this stage, to impose any operational restrictions on Airlink.

Airlink is listed on the IATA operational safety audit (IOSA) registry, with an expiration date of 12 January 2011.

But this registration does not cover operations conducted using the airline's Jetstream 41s.

IATA clarifies the limited scope of Airlink audit, stating that the Jetstream operation "does not meet all IOSA standards".