South African Airways is cutting around half of its long-haul routes and almost all of its domestic network, the flag carrier’s “business rescue practitioners” have disclosed as they seek to transform it into a sustainable and profitable business.
As of 29 February, the Star Alliance carrier will stop flying from Johannesburg to Abidjan (which it has been serving via Accra), Entebbe, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Luanda, Munich, Ndola and Sao Paulo.
SAA will maintain its connections to Frankfurt, London, New York, Perth, and Washington via Accra.
A reduced service will be operated to Cape Town from Johannesburg, but SAA will withdraw from other domestic routes, including those to Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. Cirium schedules data shows that SAA currently offers 17 domestic routes from Johannesburg.
SAA’s regional services from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Livingston, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek will be maintained. Domestic routes operated by Mango are likewise unchanged.
The business rescue practitioners say the action is in line with the carrier’s commitment to conserve cash and create a viable platform for the future. This will also involve SAA’s use of more fuel-efficient aircraft and renegotiation of contracts with suppliers, as well as reduced staffing levels.
“The initiatives we are taking now will strengthen SAA’s business,” state the practitioners. “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.”
The airline recently secured private financing to enable it to keep flying while its business rescue plan is developed.
SAA’s board placed it in business rescue in December to ward off the danger of a collapse and allow business rescue practitioners to be appointed to manage and restructure the airline.