South African Airways (SAA) business rescue practitioners have taken the urgent decision to cancel all domestic flight routes, barring limited services between Johannesburg and Cape Town. This is part of its initiatives to create a more sustainable business as the airline undergoes a rehabilitation process.
From February 29, all SAA flights to other local destinations – including Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth – will be cancelled, however Mango will continue to operate.
The move comes ahead of the relase of the business rescue plan, which practitioners Les Matusaon and Siviwe Dongwana will publish later in February. The plan should outline a comprehensive restructuring programme, after over two months of consultation with industry specialists, government, creditors and executive management.
“In line with SAA’s commitment to take urgent action to conserve cash, and create a viable platform for a successful future, key measures need to be implemented now,” said the practitioners in a joint statement on Thursday.
“These measures include targeted changes to the route network, deployment of more fuel-efficient aircraft, optimisation of organisational structures and renegotiation of key contracts with suppliers.”
Regional and international routes will also be affected, with SAA closing routes from Johannesburg to Abidjan via Accra; Entebbe; Guangzhou; Hong Kong; Livingston; Luanda; Munich; Ndola; and Sao Paulo by the end of February.
“SAA will continue to operate all international services between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, London Heathrow, New York, Perth and Washington via Accra,” said the practitioners.
Regional services that will be retained include flights from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
“All customers booked on any cancelled international and regional routes will receive a full refund. Customers booked on cancelled domestic flights will be re-accommodated on services operated by Mango.”
The practitioners said the airline will not be making further network changes and “passengers and travel agents can, therefore, feel confident about booking future travel with South African Airways”.