Statement: Follow-up on Anomalous Hi-jack Alert on Airlink Flight

Date: 12 Jul 2016

Johannesburg -  Airlink extends its sincere apologies to everyone affected by the incident involving its flight SA8678, which was involved in an anomalous hi-jack alert. 

 “I wish to acknowledge and thank our incredible passengers and crew for their patience and calm during what must clearly have been an anxious and distressing time this afternoon," said Rodger Foster, Airlink Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. 

“As promised, we have launched our own investigation into yesterday’s incident, including testing the aircraft and crucially, its identifier transponder.  No faults were found and the aircraft and its transponder are working normally and have been returned to service.  We also have confirmed that the pilots did not alter the transponder identifier code to signal a hi-jacking.  The only logical conclusion is that the signal momentarily displayed on air traffic control radar was the result of some other cause and not due to a fault with the aircraft, its systems or crew actions.   We have asked the Air Traffic Navigation Services to check its systems accordingly,” added Mr Foster.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and staff is our top priority.  Although the security procedures that had to be followed caused frustration and inconvenience, they enabled the Police's Special Task Force to take every possible step ensure that the aircraft and all onboard were safe and free of any threat.  For the Special Task Force and their dedication to their task, we are thankful,” concluded Mr Foster.

In addition to its own investigation, Airlink is assisting the relevant authorities with their inquiry, which is a mandatory step following such incidents.