South African Airways is a broken bird. Moreover, Emirates and Airlink are wasting no time to fill in the gap. Once recognized as an excellent airline, it fell into the doldrums. But, the government tries revamping it anyway.
South African Airways is done
For over eighty years, South African Airways served the nation. Furthermore, SAA won the award for Best Airline in Africa for over 13 years running. Unsurprisingly, the last time the company won Best Airline was in 2013. Notably, Dudu Myeni was installed as Chairperson of the Board in 2012 and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history.
Subsequently, the Best Airline in Africa is a monolithic behemoth awaiting burial. And, Dudu Myeni is now a delinquent director according to South Africa’s courts. Certainly, the declaration is too little, too late for the 3,000 employees laid off resulting from her apparently gross mismanagement.
#CynthiaStimpel says keeping quiet about #SAA wasn't an option. "I wouldn't be worth my salt if I did." Her conscience and integrity made her do it. She tells about the pressure she had to endure when blowing the whistle. Her family, faith and personal values kept her going.
— OUTA (@OUTASA) October 14, 2020
Obsessively, Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Gorhan, remains determined to resurrect the airline. Understandably, tax-payers disagree.
SA Airlink signs deal with Emirates
Finally, the death knell for South African Airways may well come from a foreign source. Unsurprisingly, the government failed to act decisively so a private company did. Subsequently, SA Airlink signed a deal in October 2020 to work with Emirates Airlines in Southern Africa.
Emirates and Airlink have signed an interline agreement, widening their Southern African footprint in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This will consolidate their Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls routes, Sir Tim Clark, Emirates president, says. pic.twitter.com/tLzxLaYBUR
— TheNewsHawks (@NewsHawksLive) October 20, 2020
Historically, costs for regional flying in Southern Africa are high. Currently, the South African Airways website fails to provide information for flights to Harare. Repeatedly, the website only offers the following: “The “schedules” Mandi service is temporarily unavailable, please try again later.”
Comparatively, a quick google search quickly results in an SA Airlink offer at R3,643 for a return trip.
It has taken years of mismanagement, corruption and indecisiveness, hidden behind carefully crafted words to achieve this result. ✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/jGYABzC9Zd
— Richard Spoor (@Richard_Spoor) October 19, 2020
SAA is unaffordable
Originally, touted by the ANC as belonging to the people and offering affordable air travel, it has failed to deliver. Certainly, South Africa has bigger problems to solve. Continuing to throw money into the sinking pit of South African Airways seems financially unsound. Technically, South Africa simply cannot afford the SAA. Truly, Mr. Gordhan, it is time to say goodbye.
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