International travel agency Flight Centre Travel Group says the decision to immediately stop selling tickets on South African Airways (SAA) flights was taken due to uncertainty over the longevity of the national carrier.

The group says a travel insurance firm said it would no longer cover SAA tickets against insolvency.

SAA failed to pay staff full salaries this month and has said it has almost no cash left after a week-long strike.

Flight Centre says the ban will last until such time as SAA has obtained certainty in the market.

In a flexible date search for a Johannesburg to London flight on the Travel Centre website, SAA did not come up, despite it being one of only three direct flights on the route.

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