airline flights load low

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Flight update: Low loads in November lead to flight cancellations

Airlines are struggling to fill their flights, especially international flights.

airline flights load low

Image via Adobe Stock

SAA have taken up a lot of the public’s attention in the past weeks as South African’s are still coming to terms with the latest bail-out to the tune of R10bn.

This comes at the same time that the tourism industry is currently suffering as it tries to come to terms the new normal of travel restrictions, lockdown regulations and reluctant customer base.

Flight cancellations in November

At the moment, airlines are struggling to fill their flights, especially international flights. This has resulted in airlines having to cancel flights or combine flights in order to make flying those routes economically viable.

As reported by Tourism Update, EgyptAir regional general manager for South Africa, Hossam Zaky, explains that the low for November “is very low”.

“Our load factor is very low in November and does not exceed 18% and 28% for our flights on November 12 and 13. December is supposed to be high season for South Africa but, despite this, our flights during this month are still almost empty”.

Airlines facing multiple threats

Airlines are currently contending multiple threats that are discouraging travellers from making travel plans in advance or even decide to travel at all.

The increasing infection numbers in Europe that are causing country’s to re-introduce lockdowns will be particularly concerning. At the moment, it’s just not possible to know with any certainty what the travel restrictions will be in a given country with the situation continually changing in different countries.

Even with local travel, there have been concerns about some restrictions being re-introduced due to low levels of compliance to COVID-19 safety precautions in some parts of the country.

Damper on festive travel

This means that it’s very unlikely that people are going to be clamouring to book festive travel until there is some assurance that it will be allowed and will, in fact, be safe.

Chairperson of the Board of Airline Representatives South Africa (Barsa), Carla da Silva, said there is “little work in terms of demand” due to restrictive government regulations. Da Silva added:

“We are all trying to navigate through this storm, and there is little to work with in terms of demand due to the restrictive government regulations. Airlines are advising agents that their schedules are subject to change and cancellation because of this situation, and we encourage agents to make their clients aware of the fluidity of the situation”.

South Africa’s biggest tourism risk

Da Silva also said that they are “relying on the trade to support us and to build up load factors, and we do believe that the situation will improve, as regulations are slowly eased”.

“The biggest risk for South Africa is losing its strategic hub status, as the country currently plays the role of the gateway to Africa and Southern African Development Community countries”.