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Nationwide saga update

3 Dec 2007. Nationwide have issued a few more statements, and we've decided to reprint them on our website to keep readers up to date with this important issue (and we're glad we are, because we've noticed that Nationwide have deleted some of the old statements).

Suspension upheld

Also in the news today is that Nationwide's suspension by Acting Commissioner of Civil Aviation Gawie Bestbier. Bestbier also gave Nationwide airline guidelines on how to meet the CAA's requirements.

Nationwide statements

02 December 2007



Nationwide Airlines would like to correct erroneous information regarding the status of its Johannesburg-London flight, which has been announced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today and reported in the media.

False claim:

“Nationwide has leased an aircraft from Dutch airline, KLM, to fly passengers to London on Sunday night.”


  • Nationwide has not leased an aircraft from KLM for its London service.

  • Nationwide has its own Boeing 767 aircraft, which it uses on this route.

  • The major maintenance of this aircraft has been performed by KLM in Amsterdam at prescribed intervals.

  • The full operational and service history of this aircraft was requested by and supplied to the CAA today.

  • This includes a request to furnish the complete paper trail dating back to date of manufacture and its history under its previous owners, Aeromexico and Air Canada.

  • This information was supplied to the CAA today, as it was in 2003, when the CAA inspected the aircraft in Montreal prior to its import to South Africa.

  • At that time, the CAA gave the aircraft a clean bill of health under its process for placing the aircraft on the SA civil aircraft register.

False claim:

“three CAA inspectors were examining the (leased) aircraft on Sunday morning to ensure it was properly maintained”


• As Nationwide Airlines has not leased an aircraft from KLM, it is inconceivable that CAA inspectors could be examining it to ensure it was properly maintained.


False claim:

“the CAA had received a request from Nationwide to use an aircraft from KLM to fly passengers to London on Sunday”


  • Nationwide has never made a request to the CAA for permission allowing it to use an aircraft from KLM to fly passengers to London on Sunday, or any other day.

    Nationwide is distressed that another organisation should speak on its behalf and in doing so, raise the hopes and expectations of our customers who have already experienced distress and inconvenience with the suspension of our normal services.

    We continue to work around the clock to resolve the crisis, demonstrate our fitness and restore our normal services.

    Nationwide will provide further updates on developments. In the meantime, ticket-holders should check with our call centre on 0861 737 737 or visit this website for further information.

2 December 2007



On behalf of Nationwide Airlines, I would like to firstly apologise to our customers for the inconvenience at the start of the summer holidays.

We fully understand your frustration and we sincerely apologise if your efforts to communicate with us have not been as efficient as you have come to expect of us. I would like to assure all affected by this temporary situation of the following:

  1. Safety is our top priority; it always has been and always will be. We will not compromise on the safety of our passengers, staff and equipment and we are anxious to demonstrate our full compliance with South Africa’s aviation laws.

  2. Although we were notified late on Thursday night that we were being grounded, the CAA only communicated the details of its concerns to us on Friday evening.

  3. We are focusing all of our energy on demonstrating to the CAA that we are fit to fly. To this end, we have provided the CAA with a full action plan and we are working around the clock to address the issues so that normal operations can resume as soon as possible.

  4. The concerns raised by the CAA relate primarily to administration, data capturing and storage processes in our maintenance organisation.

  5. One of the items raised goes to the authenticity of components. Nationwide procures only authentic parts and consumables from legitimate suppliers. We do not use bogus, or so-called “pirate” parts.

  6. As for the alleged untraceability of a bolt, we have subsequently demonstrated that particular component’s authenticity to the CAA. It required inspecting the serial number under a special bright light, as the details, printed in indelible ink, are not legible in natural light.

  7. Some other issues were raised, for example more frequent inspections of toolboxes, labelling of grease guns, the storage of batteries and distilled water and the disposal of unserviceable electrolyte battery cells, which we have now addressed.

  8. Please note that none of the concerns raised relate to the operation of our aircraft, our crew procedures, training or any aircraft defects.

  9. We are in constant touch with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and have received its assurance that it will lift the suspension of our Billing & Settlement Programme membership as soon as we start flying again.

  10. We are also in liaison with the CAA, which, in light of our action plan and remedial measures, has begun its review.

  11. In the meantime, while our services are disrupted, Nationwide Airlines’ ticket-holders have the option of rebooking or obtaining a full refund.

  12. Ticket-holders should consult with the Nationwide call centre (0861 737 737) or visit this website for updated information on our flight schedule.

1 December 2007


Following is the statement from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which clarifies its stance towards Nationwide Airlines.

Nationwide Airlines is aware of certain erroneous reports and remarks currently being carried in the media regarding the airlines' status as a member of IATA. Nationwide Airlines’ membership of IATA has not been cancelled, withdrawn or suspended.

The official IATA statement on the matter reads:

November 30, 2007 - Geneva –

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has suspended Nationwide Airlines from participation in its billing & settlement systems worldwide. This follows confirmation on Nationwide Airlines’ website that it has suspended operations.

IATA provides several services to its members, one of which is the handling of funds - on behalf of participating airlines - which have been paid by passengers (cash sales only) to IATA-accredited travel agents and subsequently to airlines.

Under the operating rules of the service, known as the IATA billing and settlement plan (BSP), in the event an airline ceases operations, IATA suspends the airline from participation in BSPs, freezes all funds that are being processed, consults with the suspended airline, and implements its procedures on further disposal of the funds.

Suspension of the airline means that transactions relating to Nationwide Airlines’ tickets cannot be processed through the BSP; this is done to protect the settlement system. IATA is monitoring the situation closely and communicating with all parties involved.

Related articles

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Shock as Nationwide have been grounded


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