Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is in the process of switching its customers to its sister and partner airlines after it yesterday cancelled 12 domestic and international flights due to low demand.

It was not immediately clear if customers are not booking with SAA because of its uncertain future.

In a statement released on Tuesday, SAA said the cancellation is in line with the airline’s “usual policy of reviewing flights and consolidating services with low demand”. 

The cancellations are understood to have started last night at about 10pm. 

SAA said it is working closely with sister airline, Mango, to accommodate passengers on alternative services to minimise disruption, and to ensure passengers reach their destination on time. The same principle will be applied to cancelled international flights. 

South Africa’s biggest travel agency, Flight Centre, confirmed the suspension and said that it has been working through the night to advise, assist and re-accommodate affected passengers, where possible.

Last year, Flight Centre said that it had made the decision to no longer sell SAA tickets,  because its travel insurance provider no longer would no longer cover SAA tickets, due to “doubts concerning the long-term viability of the airline.” The travel group said it will retain this position “until such time as we have obtained certainty in the market”. 

It said it now books flights on SAA only if requested to do so by customers. 

SAA said that during the current business-rescue process, flight cancellations represent a “responsible strategy” to conserve cash and optimise the airline’s position ahead of any further capital investment.

The ailing airline was placed under business rescue in December after not having enough cash to deal with its daily operations. But the future of the airline remains gloomy as it is still waiting for R2-billion from the government needed to keep it flying. 

On Sunday, the department of public enterprises released a statement reiterating its stance that it will work to save the airline. 

It confirmed that SAA lenders had provided R2-billion as post-commencement finance to enable SAA to continue to operate, while the government, though national treasury, had committed an equal amount.

It is unclear how or when the treasury will supply the R2-billion, which Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said will be provided in a fiscally neutral manner, meaning the government will not increase borrowings to source the money.

“The government continues to work with the business rescue practitioner, with the primary goal of bringing out of this process a restructured, modern airline that is able to bring millions more tourists and be a beacon of both business innovation and efficiency,” the public enterprises statement said. 

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe is a financial trainee journalist at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

ANC members take legal action over council selection disputes

Nine ANC members in the North West’s Greater Taung Municipality have sent a letter to the national list committee threatening to go to court should the ANC not respond to their demands.

Court judgment about alien fish is about more than trout...

Judge finds that public participation in democratic processes is not the exclusive preserve of the privileged few who have access to the internet and can read English

More top stories

Ramaphosa calls for public nominations for new chief justice

The president has named a panel of experts to help him draw up a shortlist of candidates in an unprecedented move that opens the appointment to consultation

Q&A Sessions: Meet the rhino whisperer, Cathy Dreyer

Cathy Dreyer, the first female head ranger of the Kruger National Park, speaks to Sheree Bega about earning the trust of black rhinos by reading to them and why the park’s hard-working rangers deserve the admiration of all South Africans

Zondo asks court for state capture commission report deadline to...

The state capture commission report will not be ready by the end of September, and Zondo says he believes it will be in the public interest to grant an extension

Municipal employees to get a 3.5% increase after wage deal

The South African Local Government Association said a three-year wage deal had been agreed on the remuneration of municipal employees

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…