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Cash crunch forces SAA to cancel flights

Eight flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town will be cut this week.

A financial crisis at South African Airways deepened Tuesday as a funding squeeze forced the national carrier to cancel several domestic and international flights.

Eight flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town will be cut this week, and 20 between Johannesburg and Durban, the carrier said in an emailed statement. It also canceled 10 flights between Johannesburg and Munich.

The move is “in line with SAA’s usual policy of reviewing flights and consolidating services with low demand,” and is aimed at saving money, the carrier said. “SAA will be reviewing further possible flight schedule amendments over the coming days.”

The airline, which was placed into bankruptcy protection last month, is waiting for the government to fulfil a pledge to provide it with a R2-billion lifeline that will enable it to keep flying. The Ministry of Public Enterprises, which oversees SAA, said work is still under way to raise the money.

The crisis at SAA has been a key test for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, which needs to rein in spending and stabiliae beleaguered state-owned companies as it faces losing the country’s sole remaining investment-grade rating. The rand extended a decline after Flight Centre South Africa Pty Ltd. revealed earlier Tuesday that SAA would cut flights, weakening as much as 0.6% to 14.5965 per dollar — the lowest level in more than a month.

“SAA is working closely with its sister airline, Mango, to re-accommodate passengers on alternative services operated by both airlines to minimise disruption,” the carrier said. Passengers who were booked on canceled flights to and from Munich would be rerouted via other destinations on planes operated by SAA and its partners in the Star Alliance, it said.

SAA offers flights to more than 30 domestic and international destinations. It has posted losses since 2012 as it grapples with the high operating costs of an ageing, inefficient jet fleet and a bloated workforce — as well as high taxes, political interference and corruption scandals.

While SAA’s Johannesburg base is a major international destination, its position at the southern end of the continent means it lacks the potential to become a major hub. The scope for profitable regional flights is limited by the relative poverty of neighbouring nations.

Efforts to establish a wider African business have had limited success as global giants including Dubai-based Emirates Airline and Turkish Airlines add dozens of sub-Saharan destinations and Ethiopian Airlines, the continent’s biggest carrier, turns Addis Ababa into a major hub.

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COMMENTS   17

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Oh dear! I was under the impression that no flights will be cancelled? SAA is sinking fast. No flights no money.

Going down faster than our navy submarines !!

Ha ha ha the end is nigh. The spiral downwards is accelerating, not a moment too soon. Good luck to anybody who purchases a ticket now.

Which routes?

SAA Domestic flights cancelled:
Johannesburg (JNB) – Cape Town (CPT)
SA303 Depart 0530 Arrive 0735 Dates: 20, 21 & 24 January

SA307 Depart 0700 Arrive 0905 Dates: 21 January

Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA316 Depart 0820 Arrive 1015 Dates: 20, 21 & 24 January

SA322 Depart 0950 Arrive 1145 Dates: 21 January

Johannesburg (JNB) – Durban (DUR)
SA527 Depart 0630 Arrive 0735 Dates: 20, 21,22 & 23 January

SA543 Depart 0955 Arrive 1100 Dates: 20, 21,22 & 23 January

SA571 Depart 1655 Arrive 1800 Dates: 20 & 21 January

Durban (DUR) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA534 Depart 0805 Arrive 0910 Dates: 20, 21,22 & 23 January

SA550 Depart 1130 Arrive 1235 Dates: 20,21, 22 & 23 January

SA578 Depart 1840 Arrive 1945 Dates: 20 & 21 January

SAA International flights cancelled:
Johannesburg (JNB) – Munich (MUC)
SA264 Depart 2115 Arrive 0700 Dates: 20, 21,22,23 & 24 January

Munich (MUC) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA265 Depart 2030 Arrive 0820 Dates: 20, 21,22,23 & 24 January

Maybe the Rescuer can explain in 10 words or less why he does not close the obviously bankrupt SAA down. Apart from loss of his fees.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch

Perhaps the realisation has sunk in that it is time for them to fold

Or perhaps the ANC have truly destroyed the coffers to the point that there really is no more money for any of these bailouts anymore.

Ironic this statement comes from Flight Centre, the same disgruntled customer of SAA who had a tiff with them a few months ago and who DOESN’T even sell SAA tickets anymore.

Wouldn’t it be more prudent to just wait and see what happens or have a credible statement from government, instead of printing and spreading hearsay from a travel agent?

Another sign of excellence! I am sure that running healthcare will be easier. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Errrr…Firstly, Flight Centre is not a customer of SAA. They are an agent which places bookings on behalf of customers and did the responsible thing to stop making forward bookings on a bankrupt carrier. Secondly, SAA has indeed confirmed the cancellations and “consolidation” of flights. Flight Centre would not make a release without having been informed by SAA of the cancellations.

Squirrel can amalgamate SAA & Eskom…

…and rename the new SOE to No Flights & No Lights.

Close down this bottomless pit of incompetence and corruption!

A welcome (but too slight) jump in rival COMAIR’s share price today 🙂

End of comments.

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