SAA's Joburg to Hong Kong route axed over 'financial losses'

SAA will suspend services between Johannesburg and Hong Kong because of financial losses and a decline in passenger volumes recorded at Hong Kong International Airport. File photo.
SAA will suspend services between Johannesburg and Hong Kong because of financial losses and a decline in passenger volumes recorded at Hong Kong International Airport. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / The Times / Alon Skuy

SAA will from Saturday suspend all flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

The airline said on Thursday the decision had been taken to curb “significant” financial losses incurred on the route - which had been “exacerbated recently by the ongoing political tensions in Hong Kong”.

“The decision to suspend services to Hong Kong is regrettable, but necessitated by the current downturn in business due to the developing challenges in the region. By suspending these flights, we can concentrate on resuming more regional services at the earliest opportunity and make better use of all our resources,” said SAA’s chief commercial officer Philip Saunders.

The airline said it would be implementing a re-accommodation policy for customers booked on services to and from Hong Kong, and would be in contact with customers at the “earliest opportunity”.

At present, the airline operates four services each week between the two cities.

“In recent months, several airlines have announced reductions in services and capacity to Hong Kong. These include the home-based carrier Cathay Pacific, as well as Air China, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, United Airlines and others. The impact of these reduced operations is further reinforced by a year-on-year decline of 13% in passenger volumes recorded at Hong Kong International Airport in October 2019,” SAA said.

“A further announcement relating to the resumption of further selected regional services will be made in a separate press release to be issued today,” the airline added.

The airline had to cancel domestic and regional flights from last Friday after thousands of workers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) went on strike.  

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