South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for Friday, 15
November and Saturday, 16 November 2019.
The cancellations follow an announcement by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) that their members will embark on industrial action from Friday morning. This is notwithstanding SAA’s repeated overtures to the unions to acknowledge the severity of the current situation facing the airline.
In a statement, SAA says the rationale for grounding the flights is that “to minimise the impact of disruptions for its customers.”
“We are putting our customers first and regret the inevitable inconvenience that these cancellations may cause our customers. However, by acting proactively SAA can certainly help customers find alternatives,” said Tlali Tlali, SAA Spokesperson.
“Unless alternative arrangements are in place, customers are requested not to go to their departure airports during the disruption as SAA will be unable to provide any assistance. Information on the status of our flights will be regularly updated on our
website,” said Tlali.
Only flights operated by South African Airways will be affected.
All flights operated on partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink and all codeshare partners, including flights operated by our Star Alliance partner airlines.
These flights can be identified by their flight numbers and will operate as normal: SA 1000 – 1999, SA 2000
– 2999, SA 7000 – 7999 and SA 8000 to 8999.
SAA will operate flights from selected outstations on Friday 15 November 2019 back to SAA’s base, OR Tambo International Airport.
Regional flights, which will operate on Friday morning, will return from Maputo (SA147), Lusaka (SA067), Harare (SA025), Windhoek (SA073), and Accra (SA210).
International flights, which will operate on Friday evening, will return from Frankfurt (SA261), New York (SA204), Munich (SA265), Hong Kong (SA287), Perth (SA281), and London (SA235).
The airline will assess the situation on an ongoing basis and Customers will be kept informed of all operational developments on a daily basis.
Tlali stated that, during the negotiations with the unions, SAA presented a revised offer for employees delivering a 5.9% increase subject to the availability of funds from lenders. NUMSA and SACCA are demanding an 8% increase.
The National Transport Movement (NTM) has not stated whether their members will embark on a strike or not.
SAA says it attempted to dissuade the unions from embarking on industrial action by providing firm commitment dates to SAA’s offer of 5.9%. Discussions are continuing to resolve the wage matter at the time of issuing the statement.
“SAA will spare no effort to work jointly with the labour unions to find solutions that accommodate the employee demands, safeguard the business and return operations to normal,” says Tlali.