We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

SAA business rescue practitioners to meet govt over decision to cancel flights

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo.
Image: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

The department of public enterprises says the decision by business rescue practitioners to stop certainSAA routes has caused market and customer uncertainty that may jeopardise the long-term future of the airline.

Public enterprises spokesperson Sam Mkokeli said the department was concerned about the rescue practitioners' decision.

“Government will be making representations to the business rescue practitioners in order to balance the necessity for trimming unprofitable routes with the need to ensure the future sustainability of both the airline and South Africa’s aviation industry,” Mkokeli said. “This will necessitate a review of the BRP’s recent announcement. Our submission will include a proposal that the route network changes announced by the BRP be reviewed to ensure the sustainability of the airline."

President Cyril Ramaphosa also expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision on Friday while boarding a plane to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to take up the chair of the African Union.

SAA said on Thursday through the practitioners that it would no longer offer services from Johannesburg to Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth from February 29.

Though it will still offer flights to Cape Town, they will be fewer.

SAA will also no longer fly from Johannesburg to Abidjan (via Accra) in Ivory Coast, Entebbe in Uganda, China's Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Luanda in Angola, Germany's Munich, Ndola in Zambia, and Sao Paulo in Brazil. This is also effective from February 29.

“While understanding the impact of the business rescue process on the restructuring of routes, staffing and costs, the government and business rescue practitioners are both committed to a viable SAA as an outcome of this process,” Mkokeli said.

“The South African government had already communicated to the business rescue practitioners that the rescue plan to be developed by the BRP should result in a restructured SAA, a national carrier which is sustainable and viable in the future."