As many as 3 000 Mango passengers may have been affected by the temporary suspension of the low-cost airline’s flights on Wednesday, according to Mango spokesperson Benediction Zubane.
Zubane confirmed that the airline’s operations had been suspended by the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) “due to outstanding payments” owed to the airport management company. This is as discussions between Mango and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) regarding funding for the cash-strapped South African Airways (SAA) continue.
However on Wednesday afternoon the airline announced on Twitter that its flights would resume on April 29.
We are currently implementing alternative travel arrangements for Guests affected today.
Affected Guests are urged to contact our call centres /firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mango will resume normal operations from tomorrow, Thursday 29 April 2021, and onwards.
— Mango Airlines (@FlyMangoSA) April 28, 2021
In a statement on Wednesday, Acsa said it notified the SAA subsidiary on April 20 that its flights would be suspended from April 23 if it did not settle outstanding payments owed, relating to passenger service charges and landing and parking fees.
Acsa statement on the temporary suspension of Mango flights:
“As the settlement payment was not forthcoming, Acsa has informed Mango Airlines that it may not operate to or from Acsa-managed airports from April 28 until the account is settled in full,” Acsa said.
Mango seemingly did not inform its passengers of the looming suspension of its flights prior to Wednesday morning as many were left stranded at airports around the country.
In a video supplied to Moneyweb (see end of article), Mango staff are seen locked inside the airline’s offices at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg while a person standing outside attempts to kick down the door in search of “answers”.
The airline’s staff members were subsequently “evacuated” from the offices, according to Zubane.
Earlier this month, Mango’s acting chief executive William Ndlovu notified staff that the airline had not received its R2.7 billion of the R10.5 billion allocated to South African Airways (SAA) to implement its business rescue plan. While SAA has received around R7.5 billion of the R10.5 billion allocated to it in October’s Medium-Term Budget, Ndlovu said the DPE has not disbursed the expected funding to Mango.
The funds, which were initially due to be paid to Mango in April, are expected to help the airline pay off its creditors and to pay workers’ salaries.
“The lessors (creditors) then put an ultimatum to Mango that should they not receive their money by April 30, 2021, all their aircraft must be grounded until such time that Mango receives the funds and is able to pay,” Ndlovu said in the internal communication to staff.
Ndlovu said the airline had requested that it be placed under business rescue until July. The proposal, according to Ndlovu, has been approved by both the SAA and Mango boards and is awaiting approval from the shareholder, the DPE.
Unions the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa), the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and Solidarity told Moneyweb that there is still no clarity on the payment of salaries for May and June.
Solidarity’s organiser Derek Mans said it is unlikely that workers will receive salaries for the two months as the airline’s flights will likely be suspended for the month of May.
In this video supplied to Moneyweb, Mango staff are seen locked inside the airline’s offices at OR Tambo International Airport while a person standing outside attempts to kick down the door in search of “answers”:
This is a developing story.