Troubled South African Airways suspends loss-making Hong Kong service

By Damian Brett

South African Airways’ (SAA) announced today that it would suspended its service between Johannesburg and Hong Kong between November 23 and December 14, due to losses incurred on the route.

The airline said the decision “has been taken to curb significant financial losses incurred on the route, 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 Philip Saunders, SAA’s chief commercial officer.

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.

Late last week, the SAA was forced to halt large swathes of its operation due to strikes by cabin crew and other staff over pay and conditions.

From Sunday it began to get operations back underway and this week said it is “on the road to recovery”.

Earlier in the November the carrier announced that it was embarking on a restructuring process that could result in job losses.

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