SAA cancels 38 ‘low demand’ domestic and international flights

Says the move will help ‘conserve cash’.
The airline has indicated that there could be further cancellations in the coming days. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

As part of its normal flight consolidation and review processes but also owing to the ongoing business rescue process, cash-strapped South Africa Airways (SAA) has announced 38 domestic and international flight cancellations over the week to save money.

In a statement released two hours after travel group Flight Centre warned customers on Twitter that SAA had cancelled a number of flights, the airline said this move was in line with its “usual policy of reviewing flights and consolidating services with low demand”. 

Read: Government still looking for R2bn to save SAA

“Furthermore, during the current process of business rescue, these cancellations represent a responsible strategy to conserve cash and optimise the airline’s position ahead of any further capital investment,” said the embattled carrier. 

Domestic flights between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town have been affected while internationally selected services to Munich have been cancelled. 

The airline alluded to the fact that there could be further cancellations in the coming days. “Any operational changes will be communicated to our travel trade partners and customers at the earliest opportunity and passengers will be re-accommodated on other airlines wherever possible.”


“SAA is working closely with its sister airline, Mango, to re-accommodate passengers on alternative services operated by both airlines to minimise disruption, and thereby ensure passengers reach their destination as quickly as possible.

“SAA will re-accommodate passengers on its services between Johannesburg and Frankfurt as well as London Heathrow. Some passengers travelling to Munich, and others travelling via Munich to other destinations, will be re-accommodated for some of their journey on partner airlines in the Star Alliance to minimise delays,” it said.

Read: SAA flights at risk without R2bn from govt – union

Despite promising to fund R2 billion of SAA’s business rescue plans after the board made a resolution to undergo the process last year, the government has yet to find the money needed. The process requires R4 billion, half of which is guaranteed and has been raised from private banks, while the remaining R2 billion is still up in the air. 

On Sunday evening the Public Enterprises Ministry said it was working with Treasury to find the money. 

The following domestic flights operated by SAA have been 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


On the international front: 

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



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This is good news right?
Too little too late maybe but at least someone sensible is starting to look at cutting costs.

I was on Lufthansa’s Frankfurt to Cape Town flight on Saturday, and it seemed fully booked.

Munich and Frankfurt is 4 1/2 hours apart. Frankfurt is a hub airport – you can connect to most places in Europe and further afield, Munich is not. The ICE fast trains stop at Frankfurt airport making connection to Netherlands, France, Berlin easy. Munich airport is and hour from Munich main station.

Lastly even if a flight is full it does not mean it is profitable, have a look at your plain ticket and see what portion is consumed by taxes – airline sees nothing of this.

Well the first question is if we have a flight to Frankfurt then why do we have a flight to Munich, can’t be that many flying in or out of Germany.

Get a code share with someone to make the second leg to Munic of anywhere else in Germany and can the flight if it’s empty.

Not all the taxes on your ticket are actually taxes. Fuel surcharges and other add ons get dropped into these fields by the airlines so you think they had nothing to do with them.

R2 billion not available – please. For a government the size of SAs this is pocket change and could easily be made available from a number of sources well ahead of the deadline and offset later from the ‘correct’ account/ mechanism chosen. This is very simply government pushing back so to speak – they will make this business rescue as hard as possible and they are making a point to the unions. Business rescue will hold cash back for salaries which they must under business rescue law, staff are the first creditors to be paid and their salaries will be due i think on or before the wkend. The old SAA operating outside of business rescue would have withheld salaries to keep the wheels turning for an extra week or 2, then let the unions apply undue pressure on government to step in and settle salaries and avoid another crippling strike. This is only the very beginning. Business rescue will not even have a real handle yet on what is going on. Their will be active defiance inside SAA controlled by the powers that be making their work as hard as possible. Everyone knows this is a litmus test on other SOE behemoths such as ESKOM. The main problem here and what so many airlines around the world rely on is corporate business, block bookings in advance, well everyone pays in advance you cannot otherwise get on the plane – but this now being the 2nd major cancellation of flights – has already got tens of thousands of seats being cancelled from the last strike, this will cause another exodus of would be bookings current and future – even government departments will not support this certain keys people in public and private companies must be in certain places at certain times – no excuses. There are far to many alternatives to choose from for anyone to say sorry i missed my meeting – SAA ate my homework – this will ratchet up serious financial pressure in the short month of February. Unions will not allow the precedent to be set yet, if ever or after chaotic chain event strikes across the country – of lay offs. The unions all support each other they have to. If SAA is forced into the private sector or shut down, who is next? R2 billion is a mouse click away – we are just watching a game of chicken play out over a couple of days, government will blink first. Just an opinion but a sad situation.

A bit more than pocket change when you consider the debts that the ANC has created to be repaid and the looting required to fund the ANC and keep their charlatans happy.

maybe Gordhan and Tito want SAA to fail therefor no R2bn

…gave up on this comment by Romulus from end of first sentence

I’m sure it was “informative”

lack of paragraphs is the reasons

Cancel free frills for members of parliament and SAA staff

So I take it all the “labour” involved in these canceled flights were retrenched? OR will they now be paid to also do nothing (At the new increased rates)

The ANC have turned a thriving airline business into a loss making concern because they used the airline as a feeding trough and gravy train for themselves, their cadre, and their family. The real people that are to blame are those who constantly vote for the ANC despite knowing full well that they have ruined the country and its infrastructure.

not so sure about thriving but better than what we have now

The same spin doctors at Eskom seem to have now provided us with their statement for SAA’s ‘flight shedding’. What’s next? … Maybe the schedule is being managed to prevent complete collapse, or perhaps, the SOE is to big to fail… LOL!

It took a whole 24 hours to go from business as usual on Monday to cancellations en massed on Tuesday.
Sorry SAA but the nations people have spoken. They won’t buy your tickets and travel agents won’t sell them either. Case closed! Shut it down!

It looks like the unions, “basic business lessons for dummies” have begun. No profits, no money, close it down. In the current economy, (in the real world, not the sheltered gravy train gov jobs) staff are being offered up to 20% cut on their salaries if they want to keep their jobs.

Best news of the day. it shouldn’t be much longer before SA will l be permanently rescued from SAA.

I wish I was offered a 20% cut. Just got thrown back 20 years to being reminded by everyone that I’m white.

the cancellation of the 38 flights out of the blue just tells me one thing: for 20+ years the fact that the flights were not fully booked was of no concern to saa’s management team – surely if a flight is not fully booked the profit for that flight will be less, or in saa’s case, a loss – small wonder they always had / still have a cash flow problem – it took them a minimum of 20+ years to work that one out (minimum passengers per flight just to break even with the cost of that specific flight)

End of comments.





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