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SAA CCO downplays flight-shedding, says 'not that many flights cancelled'

22 January 2020 8:57 AM
Tags:
SAA
cancelled flights
All airlines review their schedules and cancel and consolidate flights in event of low demand says SAA's Phillip Saunders.

The cancelling of South African Airways (SAA) aircraft over the past few days, has raised more questions about the beleaguered airline.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to SAA Chief Commercial Officer Phillip Saunders about the latest update on the state of the airline.

The reality is we haven't cancelled as many flights as is being suggested. It has been over several days and, for example, today there are no cancelled flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

Saunders insists that the maximum number of flights cancelled on that route is 2 per day over the period 20 -24 January.

He says 3 flights per day between Johannesburg and Durban have been cancelled and only one international flight between Johannesburg and Munich on 20 -24 January.

That is really important because all airlines review their schedules and cancel and consolidate in event of low demand

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

Saunders explains in granular detail two reasons why certain flights were cancelled pertaining to a brand new much larger Airbus 350 -900 and it is being tested on domestic routes. Therefore, he says there are more seats available and so other domestic flights could be cancelled.

That's where the word consolidation comes in.

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

Of the 1000s of passengers that flew only 13 were not able to be re-accommodated. So I regret the inconvenience but it should be placed in context.

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

He acknowledges a final reason and the 'crux' of the issue is the need to save money.

As the COO and the whole executive, it is our responsibility to conserve cash at the moment because the situation is very serious...so SAA can build a strong future and restructured airline.

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

Saunders discusses what is involved in business rescue and why R2 billion bailout will enable restructuring and is not heading for liquidation.

SAA is going to be different and not what it is today...and not to be a drain on the fiscus.

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

He gives customers some reassurance.

If the worst happens, and we very much believe this will not be the case, all sales from 5 December, the day the company went into business rescue, are protected. The funds are ringfenced and customers would be refunded.

Phillip Saunders, Chief Commercial Officer - SAA

Take a listen:

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has a somewhat different view...

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola talks to Refilwe Moloto about the union's position regarding current business rescue at the airline.

She says the business practioner explained that the R2 billion has been made available to SAA for business rescue, government was unable to allocate that money in time.

At the heart of the problem, why the lenders will not give this money on the basis of the guarantee that government has given, is quite frankly, because government has not demonstrated a commitment to a sustainable turnaround strategy for SAA.

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, Spokesperson - Numsa

Take a listen below:

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22 January 2020 8:57 AM
Tags:
SAA
cancelled flights

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