In an effort to find the road to profitability, South African Airways is preparing to slice its network up.
11 destinations are on the line. First up are the International routes with the following facing the axe from the 29th February 2020
- Johannesburg to Abidjan via Accra
- Hong Kong
- Sao Paulo
Next are regional and domestic routes, with the airline axing most of its domestic network, and shifting it to Mango (the low-cost carrier). This includes:
- East London
- Port Elizabeth
Cape Town will see service cuts too.
The bush that South African Airlines has trimmed down is small. Currently, the following international routes are set to survive:
- London Heathrow
- New York
- Washington via Accra
Regionally, the airline will also operate Johannesburg to
- Dar es Salaam
- Victoria Falls
If you’re affected, passengers 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.
Behind the Scenes
South African Airways is in being operated in part by a joint Business Rescue Practitioners as the airline struggles to turn around the South African Airways business (into something that could be sustainable and profitable – something the airline is not today.
As such, the airline is trying to conserve cash, deploy fuel-efficient aircraft (whilst selling off those are not), looking at its contracts and manpower.
A Business Rescue Plan is due to be published in late February and subsequently presented to creditors for approval.
As for jobs…
A shrinking fleet and network isn’t a good outlook for jobs in the airline.
Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana – Business Rescue Partners says
“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”,
Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, – Business Rescue Partners says in a press release
“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”
A long way to go
There’s plenty of work to go as South African Airways attempts to turn itself around – and it might be time for bits of the airline to be let go, subsidiaries evaluated and so on.
The airline entered bankruptcy protection on the 5th December 2019, after not turning a profit since 2011.
Will a trimmed network help it? Maybe.
Time continues to tick for South African Airways though.
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