SAA has announced that, among other changes to its schedule, it will remove its daily return service to Maputo. Passengers holding tickets will be re-accommodated on codeshare flights on TM (LAM).
The service was originally intended to start on September 27, but when demand looked thin, was postponed to December. However, the demand has once again failed to justify the route.
“Demand on this service has not met expectations and for the time being, this change is in line with our strategy of being a transparent management and fiscally responsible,” said Simon Newton-Smith, SAA’s Interim Executive Commercial.
Newton-Smith last week said at an agents’ forum in Sandton, that the airline has had to be cautious and sensible. “International flights are right down, up to 85% of 2019 figures,” he said. He added that while it might be necessary to change the schedule as the pandemic unfolds, the airline would not cancel flights on the day.
Take-up on the two newest routes, Lagos, Nigeria and Mauritius has been encouraging, said Newton Smith. He added that new services to other destinations are also being considered for 2022.
More adjustments are being made for the December ’21 and January ’22 holiday season, are due to the expected slow demand on traditionally non-travel days, as customers spend their time with families and friends.
Return flights to Accra, Ghana will not operate on December 25, 2021 and January 1, 2022. Kinshasa flights will not operate on December 24, 2021 and December 31, 2021. All affected passengers will be re-accommodated on the next available SAA flights.
SAA has operated flights four days a week to Lusaka, Zambia since September. The airline had scheduled additional frequencies, intending to fly seven days a week from December 1, but this schedule has been adjusted to operate five days a week from the December 1. Affected passengers will be re-accommodated on the next available SAA flights.
Newton-Smith said: “No airline likes to cancel flights but we are committed to success and sustainability of our airline, whilst we meet our valued customer requirements. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience and full assistance will be provided to all customers holding an SAA ticket on flights that are withdrawn from the schedule.”
“Passengers who no longer wish to travel may cancel their booking and are able to receive a full refund (inclusive of taxes) or opt for the credit voucher which will be offered to the original form of payment,” he said.