Police spokesperson Vish Naidoo said William Chandler appeared in Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was released on R5 000 bail.

He will appear again on 15 May.

Previously, News24 reported that SAA discovered that Chandler’s airline transport pilot licence had been forged.

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SAA had opened a criminal case of fraud against the former pilot.

This was reportedly discovered after an investigation into a “reportable incident” on a flight he piloted.

An incident had occurred involving Flight SA206, which operated on an Airbus A340-600 aircraft, from OR Tambo International Airport to Frankfurt, Germany, in November 2018 over Swiss airspace.

The flight encountered an atmospheric disturbance at high altitude over the Swiss Alps.

The airline said its robust safety procedures required that, in such a case, the crew involved be grounded and subjected to a thorough and comprehensive assessment and re-evaluation.

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“We are, however, aware that the pilot concerned was taken into police custody earlier today in relation to a criminal case against him,” SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.

Tlali said internal investigations were still underway.

He further confirmed that the airline has suspended its highest-ranking official responsible for safety, after allegations that the official tried to cover up for Chandler.

– News24 Wire