JOHANNESBURG. 18 March 2020. South African Airways (SAA) has scaled down capacity in response to the low demand for air travel. The effects of the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have led to travel disruptions and restrictions across the world, leading to the grounding of aircraft, releasing employees, and cancelling flights for many airlines. SAA is not immune to these realities.
In the light of the substantial fall in demand for air travel, SAA has reviewed its flight schedule and has decided to operate flights only under circumstances where its load factors and other business considerations weigh in favour of scheduling flights. However, certain flights that have been negatively impacted more than others, are consequently cancelled.
“Notwithstanding the decline in demand, SAA continues to aggressively review its schedule to match capacity with demand to the extent possible. Where feasible, we will consider options that include cancelling and merging flights,” said SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders.
For the period 17 until 31 March 2020, SAA has cancelled a total of 162 flights. Of these, 38 are international and 124 are regional (destinations on the African continent) flights.
For specific details or information on cancelled flights, click here.
At the same time, the airline is continuing to provide a service on the domestic, regional and international networks for those passengers whose travel is essential and cannot be avoided. For the time being, the airline will continue to operate to and from destinations unaffected by travel restrictions aimed at combatting the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Our priority is to assist those travellers wishing to repatriate to their home countries to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Naturally, this includes South African citizens abroad wishing to return home,” Saunders explained.
Subject to the conditions set out in the travel ban announced by government in South Africa, SAA will also facilitate the transfer of qualifying passengers to or from the destinations it flies to, which have been classified as high-risk areas.
Appreciating the impact of travel restrictions emanating from the outbreak of the Coronavirus, SAA has demonstrated its commitment towards looking after its customers by providing flexible rebooking options.
“We have updated our Customer Reservation Policy to help our passengers defer their travel plans where possible. To this end, we have offered our customers one free ticket change, in acknowledgement of travel restrictions that are not of our customers’ own making,” Saunders elaborated.
The Updated Reservation Policy now extends to the entire SAA route network.
Below is a summary of the amended travel policy, which is available onwww.flysaa.com.
§ Must rebook / reissue ticket/s by 30 April 2020.
§ Complete travel by 28 February 2021.
§ Rebook same booking class with no additional collection and change fees waived.
§ Additional fare collection and taxes will apply to cases of seasonality change, but change fees will be waived.
§ If same booking class is not available, upgrade to lowest applicable booking class. Additional fare collection and taxes will apply but change fees will be waived.
§ One (1) free change and ticket reissue permitted only.
§ Tickets to be endorsed “COVID-19 SA FLT/DATE”.
§ Applicable to all fare types.
§ Change of cabin will not be permitted.
§ Change of routing will not be permitted.
§ This travel advisory waives the 72-hour rule.
§ This policyis applicable to South African Airways flights only and does not apply to Mango, SA Express and Airlink, issued on SA (083) ticket stock and not on separate tickets of other airlines. This policywill apply when Mango, SA Express and Airlink forms part of the itinerary issued on SA (083) ticket stock.
§ No refunds are permitted as part of this advisory.
§ Other refunds are permitted according to the applicable fare rules.
§ Previous No-show passengers are not eligible for this waiver.
§ SAA reserves the right to withdraw or revise the terms and conditions without prior notice.
SAA regrets any inconvenience to our customers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and we encourage all customers to visit our website www.flysaa.com for further updates.
Customers are advised to contact either their travel agents, or for direct bookings, the South African Airways Call Centre on +27 (0)11 978-1111 or 0861 606 606 or 0800 214 774 (South Africa only) or +27 (0)11 978-2888.
“We thank customers for their continued support and placing their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans,” concluded Saunders.
SAA will provide regular and timely updates through media statements and through our travel trade partners.