April 23, 2024

SAA retains Heathrow amid network reshuffle

South African Airways will implement a number of route closures from the end of February - but daily services to London Heathrow remain a key component of its new-look network.

In a bid to support the airline’s transformation into a sustainable and profitable business, SAA’s Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) will implement changes to its network, deploy more fuel-efficient aircraft, optimise organisational structures and renegotiate key supplier contracts.

The airline will continue operating international services between Johannesburg and London Heathrow, Frankfurt, New York, Perth and Washington.

It will also retain regional services include flights from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Livingston, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

However, from February 29, it will axe flights to Abidjan via Accra, Entebbe, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Luanda, Munich, Ndola and Sao Paulo.

Domestically, it will continue to serve Cape Town on a reduced basis, but will cease operations to Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, also from February 29.

Routes operated by Mango will not be affected by the changes.

All customers booked on any cancelled international and regional routes will receive a full refund.

The airline does not intend to make any further significant network changes.

“Passengers and travel agents can therefore feel confident about booking future travel with South African Airways,” says a statement from the airline and its BRPs.

“It is our intention to restructure the business in a manner that we can retain as many jobs as possible. This will help provide a platform to a viable and sustainable future. However, a reduction in the number of employees will unfortunately be necessary,” it added.

“The initiatives we are taking now will strengthen SAA’s business. We believe that this should provide reassurance to our loyal customers that SAA is moving in the right direction. We are focused on our mandate to restore SAA’s commercial health and create an airline that South Africans will be proud of.”