Cash-strapped South African low-cost carrier Mango Airlines has suspended flights until further notice owing to payments due to the country’s air navigation services provider ATNS.

It comes a day after the acting head of its parent company South African Airways said the board and shareholders had agreed the low-cost unit would enter a formal business rescue process.

Mango Airlines Boeing 737-800 @shutterstock

Source: Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock

”We can confirm that our services and all flights are temporarily suspended from today, 27 July 2021, until further notice, due to outstanding payments to ATNS,” Mango’s acting chief executive William Ndlovu said in a social media post from the airline.

He says senior management and Mango’s shareholder are ”locked-in discussions to find an amicable solution to this impasse”. 

”We plan to resume normal operations as soon as possible. We ask for calm and patience as we navigate these challenges. We will update the public as soon as possible. We apologise in advance for the inconvenience caused,” Ndlovu says.

Mango was briefly forced to suspend flights in late April due to payments owed to airports operator ACSA, before a deal was brokered enabling it to resume flights.

The low-cost carrier has run into challenges due to delays in SAA subsidiaries accessing portions from the R10.5 billion ($706 million) support package from the South African government. SAA acting chief executive Thomas Kgokolo, in outlining the intention to place Mango in business rescue, yesterday said a communication on the funding for its subsidiaries is expected in the next week.

Flights in South Africa have been heavily impacted by travel restrictions to counter a spike in Covid cases, but the government announced a slight easing in these rules on 26 July to allow the resumption of domestic leisure travel.