July 15, 2024

SAA suspends international flights until October 30

South African Airways has cancelled all international flights until at least October 30. 

The routes affected are Heathrow, New York JFK, Frankfurt, and Perth. 

The airline has also suspended its domestic and regional services until April 30. 

SAA services have been routinely cancelled since the Covid crisis took a grip last March, with schedules reviewed on a monthly basis.  

However, this week’s move is the first time the airline has taken such a long-term stance on cancellations, effectively binning all international flights for the next eight months. 

Bookings for international travel remain in place for travel from October 31 and bookings for domestic and regional travel from May 1 also remain in place. 

SAA’s low-cost subsidiary carrier Mango continues to operate its domestic route network.  

A statement from the airline said the cancellations “pertain to the ongoing business rescue process and travel restrictions with respect to Covid-19”.  

Last October the South African government committed to finalising a 10.5 billion-rand Business Rescue Plan (BRP) and restructuring that pulled the national carrier back from the brink of collapse. 

Initially announced towards the end of 2019, the scheme’s measures include a 2.8 billion-rand injection of ‘working capital’ and 2.2 billion rand for retrenchment costs. 

A statement at the time from the Department of Public Enterprises said failure to allocate the funds under the BRP would have resulted in the liquidation of the airline at a cost of more than R18.5 billion rand.  

A South African Airways press releases said the business rescue process will “produce a right sized, customer centric airline; designed to be lean, technology savvy, digitally native and agile to service all market segments”.  

South African Airways operates a mix of Airbus A319s, A320s, A330s, A340s, A350s and Boeing 737s.