The restructuring team appointed by the South African government to recover South African Airways‘ financial health announced on Thursday a plan to reduce the airline’s flight network.
After analysis and consultation with shareholders, SAA decided to maintain only five transoceanic destinations from Johannesburg: New York, Washington, London, Frankfurt and Perth, Australia. Another eight international flights will be discontinued in March. Among them are cities like Guangzhou (China), Hong Kong, Luanda, Abidjan, São Paulo (Brazil) and Munich, which had previously been announced.
The airline has also confirmed that it will cease routes to Cape Town, South Africa’s second largest city. Domestic flights to Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth will be closed after 29 February. On the other hand, SAA has ensured that the flights of the subsidiary Mango will not be affected by the changes.
“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,” said company representatives.
Named Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs), the team responsible for saving South African Airways from bankruptcy has revealed that it intends to put in place a broader plan to make it financially viable. Among the measures announced are the use of more efficient aircraft, the sale of assets such as the A340 jets, reduction of expenses, renegotiation of contracts with suppliers and structural reorganization of the company.
SAA also acknowledged that there will be layoffs: “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. ”
The airline, the largest in South Africa, has just completed 86 years of foundation on February 1. Its fleet of 50 planes is made up of old models, almost all of which are Airbus, and which have an average age of almost 11 years.
At the end of last year, South African decided to lease four A350-900s in hopes of reducing the operating costs of the A340 four-engine engines that are no longer used worldwide.