Cape Town - South African Airways has confirmed it will cancel flights on six of its regional destinations due to "operational reasons".
Tourism Update states the airline sent out a notification to trade last week, confirming it "will cut flights to Brazzaville via Pointe Noire in the Congo; Douala in Cameroon via Libreville in Gabon; Kinshasa in the DRC; Entebbe in Uganda; Luanda in Angola; Cotonou in Benin via Libreville in Gabon".
SAA says it will re-accommodate passengers with alternative travel to be finalised "on/before October 17, 2017".
Towards the end of August SAA issued a statement saying the airline was set to introduce network changes on the domestic and regional segments of its route network.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said at the time, it related specifically to replacement of SAA’s own metal service on certain routes and not total withdrawal. The network changes are said to be part of the airline’s implementation of its newly developed five-year Corporate Plan that seeks to return the company to financial sustainability in the shortest time possible.
In June 2017, SAA aimed to address its current and long-term challenges, and bring more efficiency and financial stability, with the five-year business plan.
"We will continue to provide services to the affected markets, albeit rendered by our partner carriers who will be operating on those routes. In essence, no existing or future customers will experience an adverse impact due to the introduction of the partner carriers, as the change will be managed seamlessly.
"SAA will honour its obligations to all ticketed passengers who purchased tickets in advance," Tlali said.
SAA is confident that together with its partners it has adequately planned and prepared for the changes that are necessary to bring about efficiencies for the airline whilst also giving our customers travel certainty on their future business or leisure travel.
A City Press report, previously detailed plans to meet some of its challenges included cutting more than a third of its Johannesburg-Cape Town route - one of the most profitable flight routes in the world, but diminished in gainfulness due to more direct international flights to Cape Town."
SAA currently has 17 daily return flights between the two cities.
The report also indicated that SAA "plans to cancel all flights to Port Elizabeth and East London, as well as flights to all central African destinations. It will also cut back its already reduced international flight offering, and get rid of at least 10 of the more than 50 planes in its fleet".
Traveller24 has contacted SAA for an update on any future changes on these routes and has yet to receive a response.
The regional flight cancellations are as follows:
- Effective September 25, flight SA084 JNB-PNR-BZV-JNB will operate on Fridays only. Currently the airline services the route on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
-Effective October 9, flight SA086 JNB-LBV-DLA , Fridays only. Currently the airline services this route on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Effective October 9, flight SA050 JNB-FIH will operate on Sundays and Thursdays. Currently the airline services the route on Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Effective October 9, flight SA160 JNB-EBB will operate on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Currently the airline services the route on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- Effective October 9, SAA will operate JNB-LAD on Sundays, Tuesdays and Saturdays. Currently the airline services the route daily.
- Effective November 1, flight SA090 JNB-LBV-COO will operate on Mondays and Saturdays. Currently the airline services the route on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
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