No Mango for you
  • Mango on Tuesday cancelled all its flights, without notice.
  • Again.
  • This time it hadn't paid its fees for air traffic control services.
  • Customers can get vouchers valid for 24 months, it said.
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SAA-owned low-cost airline Mango on Tuesday cancelled all its flights, without notice, after not paying a critical bill, for the second time in three months.

"We can confirm that our services and all flights are temporarily suspended from today, 27 July 2021, until further notice," Mango said in a statement.

It admitted it was unable to fly because it had not paid its  Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) bill.

"Senior management and our shareholder are locked-in in emergency discussions to find an amicable solution to this impasse," it said.

Customers could – in theory – claim vouchers for future replacement flights, valid for 24 months, but Mango also warned of "much longer than ordinary waiting time for enquiries or emails to be cleared". 

"We ask for calm and patience as we navigate through these challenges. We will update the public as soon as possible," the airline said.

That is identical to the call it made in April, one day short of three months ago, when Mango planes were suddenly grounded, in that instance because it had failed to pay the Airports Company of South Africa.

After months of not receiving their full salaries, employees have filed to put Mango into business rescue, a step that would normally be taken by the management of a company.

The company's management has regularly broken promises and delayed decisions, unions said, and they feared Mango would be liquidated in August should it not receive protection from its creditors.

Parent company SAA is due to receive another government bailout, for a total of R2.7 billion, but Mango said that money had not yet been paid, and so was not yet available to subsidiary companies such as itself.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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