Huge Route Cuts For Struggling South African Airways

Struggling South African Airways has just cut a large number of routes from its network. The airline has been grappling with its finances for a while now, and recently temporarily cut routes in order to conserve cash.

South African Airways, Flight Cancellations, Cash Worries
South African Airways has canceled a number of routes as cash worries continue. Photo: Getty Images

It’s been an eventful start to the year for South African Airways. While the airline has been putting its new Airbus A350s to use, it has simultaneously been grappling with cash. This led it to temporarily cancel its Munich route, and some frequencies on shorter routes. Now the airline has canceled even more routes.

What’s happening?

As part of its restructuring plan, South African Airways will be cutting a fair few routes. Earlier this month, the airline had announced the sale of a number of Airbus A340 aircraft. As the airline continues to grapple with its liquidity challenges, more route cuts are inbound.

The airline will announce a business rescue plan in late February. However, in the meantime, it is taking urgent action to conserve its cash. This will largely comprise of route cuts. Routes such as London and the A350 routes to Frankfurt and New York (JFK) will be retained along with two more, Washington via Accra and Perth. Additionally, 13 intracontinental routes will continue to operate.

However, on the 29th of February, the airline will cut 8 routes from its international portfolio. These routes are:

  • Abidjan via Accra;
  • Entebbe;
  • Guangzhou;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Luanda;
  • Munich;
  • Ndola;
  • Sao Paulo.
SAA A350-900
South African Airways will still operate its Airbus A350 routes. Photo: South African Airways

What about domestic flights?

South African Airways will only continue operating one of its routes within South Africa, between Johannesburg and Cape Town. All other domestic routes will be ceased on the 29th of February. Meanwhile, capacity on the remaining route will also be cut.

Passengers on the canceled domestic flights will be rebooked onto flights operated by Mango where appropriate. The carrier stressed that its subsidiary is unaffected by the wave of route cancellations announced today.

Alongside the route cuts, the airline will also need to reduce the number of employees which it had. Earlier today Simple Flying reported that this may take place faster than previously anticipated.

Mango, South African Airways, Routes Cancelled
Subsidiary Mango will be unaffected by the cancellations. Photo: Pixabay

It is worth pointing out that South African Airways’ franchise partner South African Airlink will be unaffected. The airline is privately owned and points out that it will continue operating on a number of the routes canceled by South African Airways.

The South African Airways franchise partner’s CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, said,

“We want to reassure travellers that as far as Airlink is concerned, it is business as usual! Our schedule and operations are unaffected by SAA’s latest network cuts.”

Do you think the route cuts will help South African Airways? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!