Corporate Traveller

SAA leaves passengers stranded with flight changes

The Flight Centre Travel Group will offer support and assistance to any passengers who have been affected by the recent South African Airways (SAA) flight cancellations or by the grounding of Cemair.

Recently, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) announced Cemair had been grounded indefinitely. The airline, based at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, flies to Bloemfontein, Cape Town, George, Hoedspruit, Margate, Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth.

CemAir said it is working with the SACAA to resolve the issue as expeditiously as possible. In the interim, the airline promised it is working closely with other carriers to accommodate passengers with minimum inconvenience.

SAA also announced it is scrapping one of its two daily return flights to London from April 20 as it also introduces the new Airbus A330-300 on the London route from March 2018. SAA will be reducing a number of flights on the Perth route between February and June this year.

The airline said it would be making ad hoc cancellations to its services out of Perth due to ‘low market demand during February, March, May and June’. Flights on the following dates from Johannesburg have been cancelled:

  • February 13, 16 & 18
  • March 2, 6, 9 & 11
  • May 5, 14, 18, 23 & 30
  • June 3, 6, 11, 18 & 25

SAA promised a flexible re-accommodation policy and said in a statement: “Those affected will be re-accommodated onto the next available flight by SAA. Should this date not be suitable then the customer may be rebooked on an alternative that is available in the correct booking class for the airfare purchased. This date change is permitted once at no cost.”

Implementing a long-term sustainable strategy

SAA stressed that it is not pulling out of the Australian market, but that the airline wants to conduct business in a manner that brings more commercial logic, cognisant of the costs and overall customer experience.

Corporate Traveller South Africa GM, Oz Desai says the Johannesburg-Perth route is popular among South African corporate travellers, but that the measure announced by SAA is a routine timetable adjustment. “We support any initiatives that SAA employs to ensure its long-term sustainability and will work with our customers to re-accommodate them with minimal inconvenience.”

The announcement of these cancellations once again highlights the importance for travellers to book through a reliable travel agent. Sue Garrett, GM Product and Marketing FCTG, says: “The safety of our passengers will always be top priority. We will offer any support and assistance to re-accommodate any passengers who are affected by these changes.”

To see if your flights have been affected, please contact your Corporate Traveller expert today!