South African Airways resumes international flights

This morning (Monday November 18), South African Airways (SAA) announced its intention to resume flights to six destinations on the African continent: Accra, Lagos, Lusaka, Maputo, Windhoek and Harare, with effect from tomorrow.

These six destinations on the African continent add to other international services on which SAA has now resumed operations.

An SAA flight to São Paulo, Brazil, took off yesterday (Sunday) as the airline began reinstating international flights.

Another five international departures from OR Tambo International Airport were also scheduled yesterday: to New York, London, Frankfurt, Munich and Washington DC via Accra.

The first departures from OR Tambo International Airport to Perth and Hong Kong are expected to operate as scheduled from today.

Philip Saunders, SAA’s chief commercial officer, commented: “We are pleased that SAA is now able to increase services and to offer our customers more flights on the African continent, and that all our international flights are back on schedule.”

The carrier’s internal and other regional routes have not yet been restarted, as SAA seeks to cope with a walkout by cabin crew and other staff protesting at pay and conditions.

The South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) called for the strike to begin on Friday 15 November.

SAA’s acting chief executive, Zuks Ramasia, responded by saying that industrial action would “result in a set of circumstances from which there may well be no recovery,” adding: “The recognised unions are aware that our financial challenges are caused by a number of factors, including a severely distressed global airline industry, which has resulted in numerous airlines retrenching staff, embarking on cost-reduction programmes, implementing wage freezes, reducing operations, or even closing down.”

Ramasia declared: “Like other airlines, SAA is under severe financial pressure. At the moment, our costs are higher than our revenue, and the sooner we address that, the better for the immediate survival of the company.”

Saunders said this morning: “Once again, we apologise to all our passengers for all the inconvenience caused. We are continuing discussions with labour and remain committed to reach a prompt resolution in the best interests of all parties.”

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