August 28 2017 – SA national carrier SAA is dumping routes, reducing flights and getting rid of some of its airplanes – all in a desperate bid to stay aloft.
Sources familiar with the plan to try to rescue the airline have told City Press’ sister newspaper, Rapport, that:
• The airline will reduce flights on its profitable Johannesburg-Cape Town route by more than a third;
• It plans to cancel all flights to Port Elizabeth and East London, as well as flights to all central African destinations;
• It will get rid of at least 10 of the more than 50 planes in its fleet; and
• It will further cut back its already reduced international flight offering.
The Johannesburg-Cape Town route was one of the most profitable flight routes in the world, but probably diminished in gainfulness because of the fact that there are now more direct international flights to Cape Town.
SAA currently has 17 daily return flights between the two cities.
One of the sources said: “The airline is going to make enormous sacrifices to try to ensure SAA’s survival, but none of it will matter as long as [the airline’s chairperson] Dudu Myeni remains involved. She has a destructive influence on the airline and the staff.”
The board term of Myeni, a close personal friend of President Jacob Zuma, comes to an end this week, but there is still no sign of her departure.
“It is a big cause for concern for everyone involved in the attempt to rescue the airline,” said a source in SAA’s employ.
“The current acting chief executive, Musa Zwane, was even admitted to hospital because of Myeni’s actions.”
This news comes in the wake of the surprising revelation by Alf Lees, DA spokesperson for finance, in Parliament on Wednesday that government may sell its 39.76% stake in Telkom in order to finance a R10bn bailout for SAA.
This information was contained in a classified Cabinet document, the authenticity of which has since been confirmed by a Treasury official. – News 24