Johannesburg – The South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled flights to East London due to bad weather, the airline said on Sunday.
“The cancellations were as a result of adverse weather conditions in and around East London. The conditions at the East London Airport were below landing requirements and the airport’s glide slope is not in working order,” spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.
A glide slope is part of the instrument landing system which is a ground-based devise that provides precision guidance to an aircraft that is approaching and about to land on a particular runway.
“The glide slope plays a vital role in the safe landing of an aircraft in low visibility conditions due to rain, fog, snow or other similar natural elements.” He said Flight SA 471 which departed Johannesburg at 10:04 and was destined to land in East London at 11:35 had to be diverted to Port Elizabeth Airport.
“After a wait of just over an hour the aircraft departed Port Elizabeth for a second attempted landing in East London, but could not as the weather conditions had not improved as anticipated when departing Port Elizabeth.”
The flight was diverted back to Johannesburg.
A second flight, SA 475 departed Johannesburg at 14:40 for East London following reports that weather conditions were improving.
“However, on approaching East London it was noted that the weather conditions were still not suitable for a safe landing and as a result the aircraft had to return to Johannesburg.”
He said a decision was then taken to cancel the subsequent flights, SA 476 and SA 480.
He said the SAA has continuously monitored the situation and the weather was reported to be improving at 19:00.
Arrangements have been made to deploy a bigger aircraft in order to accommodate tomorrow (Monday) morning, as many passengers as possible who could not travel today (Sunday) due to flight cancellations.”