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Big news for South African Airways (SAA) today. The embattled airline will drop all but one domestic route from its service roster in a bid to further cut its losses.
This includes flights to East London, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Johannesburg OR Tambo to Cape Town will continue to operate but at a “reduced capacity”.
South African Airways’ revised domestic and internal routes
Additionally, a number of international routes have been cut too from OR Tambo, including:
- Abidjan, Nigeria
- Entebbe, Uganda
- Guangzhou, China
- Hong Kong
- Luanda, Angola
- Munich, Germany
- Ndola, Zambia
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
Despite these cuts, South African Airways will still operate to and from the following destinations across Africa and the world:
- Blantyre, Malawi
- Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Kinshasa, DRC
- Lilongwe, Malawi
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Lusaka, Zambia
- London Heathrow, UK
- Maputo, Mozambique
- Port Louis, Mauritius
- Nairobi, Kenya
- New York JFK, US
- Perth, Australia
- Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Washington Dulles, US (via Accra, Ghana)
- Windhoek, Namibia
Including Cape Town, this leaves SAA with just 17 routes to and from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo.
Dropping routes important for SAA
The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon by the airline’s business rescue team. It believes that cutting routes is an important measure to return South African Airways to profitability.
“We believe that this should provide reassurance to our loyal customers that SAA is moving in the right direction,” it said.
It also confirmed that the airline will not drop any more routes in the coming months, which should instil some semblance of consumer comfort. Those who were booked on flights to any of the dropped destinations will be reimbursed.
Finally, the business rescue team confirmed that South African Airways will be selling assets, but failed to explain exactly what or when. In January, the company put up its Airbus A340 and some A330 planes for sale.
“To improve the airline’s liquidity, rationalisation programmes are under consideration for SAA’s subsidiaries, as well as the sale of selected assets,” it concluded.
According to AirFleets, SAA currently has 47 active aircraft.
Feature image: an SAA Airbus A350-900 at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport in January 2020, by Andy Walker/Memeburn