With South African Airways (SAA) virtually grounded, other international airlines are feasting on the remains. They are now operating some of the lucrative routes suspended by the ailing national carrier.
This week, British Airways announced an increase to its local services, by adding three more direct flights between Heathrow and Cape Town International Airport.
SAA announced in February that it had taken the decision, together with the Business Rescue Practitioners, to ground certain local and international routes in an effort to make SAA financially sustainable.
The embattled carrier also announced the possible retrenchment of workers on the affected routes.
DA welcomes BA’s announcement
The Democratic Alliance, which is running the Western Cape province, has welcomed
party’s Finance Spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis says this is good news for the province.
“This is very good news for the Western Cape. Cape Town is getting new flights from all over the world, from New York, from South America, from Europe; all are coming here. We will run the Cape Town route very profitably and very successful without the taxpayers’ bailout.”
In the video below, unions react to SAA’s decision to ground an unspecified number of local and international flights.
Uganda airlines also eyes SAA routes
Uganda’s government also planning to run its airline to South Africa after SAA stops flights to Entebbe International Airport from Johannesburg at the end of February.
The airline recently announced it will cease all its flights to and from Uganda.
Uganda’s aviation authority says it is keen on filling the void. Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Spokesperson Vianney Luggya says, “We are unfortunately losing South African airlines but we are in negotiations with Airlink which is also South Africa-based which has plans to commence direct flights to Entebbe. Besides that, the national airlines – Uganda Airlines – has been in discussion through government with the South Africa authorities to designate the airlines on that route as well.”
While the government continues subsidising billions for SAA to remain afloat, businesses believe this lacks merit.
Acting CEO: Business Unity South Africa, Cas Coovadia says, “You don’t need a national airline to be owned by the government in order to promote tourism. We are of the view that what you need is efficiency……We need to try and promote tourism into the country.”
While SAA is under rescue and waiting for the government’s bailout, British Airways also announced a roll-out of 6.5 billion pounds of customer investment plan.
It will see British Airways taking delivery of 73 new aircraft and refurbishing its long-haul cabins in preparation for tough aviation competition.