South African Airways

SAA is still stuck on the runway and nowhere near the open sky. Image: Adobe Stock

It’s Groundhog Day as restart of SAA flights delayed yet again

Beleaguered national airline SAA has suspended flights once more, dashing hopes its planes will take to the skies any time soon.

South African Airways

SAA is still stuck on the runway and nowhere near the open sky. Image: Adobe Stock

South African Airways (SAA) has announced that its flights will continue to be suspended for now. The national carrier also announced separate dates until which domestic and international flights would remain suspended. Gloomy as the ongoing grounding is, the announcement is an indication the airline will restart its flights — even if not all at once.

The airline received a R10.5bn bailout at the beginning of February and it was previously announced it could exit its business rescue process by the end of March. However, it is still looking increasingly improbable that the airline will start operating flights any time soon.


The airline has been under business rescue since December 2019. The lengthy process has drawn much criticism from pundits, but SAA has said that an improved and more efficient national carrier will emerge from business rescue.

“Amongst other benefits, this process aims to produce a right-sized, customer-centric airline designed to be lean, technology savvy, digitally native and agile, to service all market segments,” it said on the FlySAA website.


The airline also announced the dates until which domestic and regional flights would be suspended.

“All SAA operated flights (domestic and regional) are suspended until 30 April 2021,” it said.

Customers can still buy SAA flights which are operated by Mango Airlines, a subsidiary of SAA. Mango continues to operate flights on several routes within South Africa and operates domestic flights (with SA flight numbers)  on behalf of SAA.   

“We are delighted that the South African Airways code (SA) is available for booking on the domestic route network as our subsidiary low-cost carrier Mango continues to operate,” SAA said.


The airline has suspended the restart of its international flights until much later in 2021. Like British Airways, operated in South Africa by Comair, it intends to stagger the restart of its route network.

All SAA-operated international flights will be suspended until 30 October 2021.

This will give the national carrier time to ramp up services while also allowing customers to make advanced bookings for international flights. 

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