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South African Airways to suspend all domestic flights as lockdown looms

Along with FlySafair, Kulula and BA.
Image: Shutterstock

South African Airways (SAA) said on Tuesday it will suspend all its domestic flights from Friday until April 16 in support of a national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Read: Ramaphosa announces 21-day national shutdown from Thursday

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday in an address to the nation on Monday, as the number of confirmed cases jumped by 128 to 402. On Tuesday the number climbed by another 152 to 554.

“SAA supports this national effort as announced by the government, to retard, contain, manage and disrupt the rate of transmission of the Covid-19,” the state-owned airline said in a statement.

SAA said its call centres would not operate for the duration of the lockdown, and it would give customers one free travel change for travel between Tuesday and Thursday.

SAA, which has been in bankruptcy protection since December, had already suspended intercontinental and African regional flights until the end of May.

Another struggling state-owned airline, SA Express, suspended its operations last Wednesday.

The aviation company Comair on Tuesday suspended all flights for its franchise partner British Airways and the kulula.com low-cost airline from Thursday until April 19, while budget airline FlySafair suspended its flights until April 20.

SAA has not made a profit since 2011 and has received more than R20 billion in bailouts in the past three years.

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COMMENTS   3

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In which LA-LA-land will SAA be able to ever operate any flight again? Surely it is a no-brainer that is had to be liquidated along with the lockdown announcement?

what actually should happen is not to suspend the flights of saa only, but to suspend saa as a trading entity for ever – in other words: liquidate / wind up this tax parasite airways for ever and save a lot of taxpayers money for more necessary work / tasks.

If only Zuma had said ‘Running an airline, such a Western thing’.

End of comments.

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