Some SA airlines have no intention to fly during level 3 lockdown

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While the government has not released level 3 regulations, most airlines revealed they won’t be flying should limited domestic flights be permitted.

FlySafair’s chief marketing officer Kirby Gordon told IOL Travel that it would not make financial sense to operate with limited travellers. He said no plans were in place for level 3 flying at this stage.

“From what we can gather from the regulation is that the restrictions on flying in level 3 are likely to be quite heavy, which means that it’s unlikely that they’ll facilitate a viable demand. We are still awaiting clarity on specifics from the state, but to the best of our current understanding, viable flying will be possible at level 2 at the earliest,” he said.

Gordon revealed last month that not being able to fly means that there’s no money coming in.

“It’s a terrible situation as our costs don’t go away. Margins in our world are so thin because costs are so high, and it’s not just fuel, it’s the cost of the aircraft, its maintenance, insurance, the crew, among others. Unfortunately, these costs haven’t gone away, so we’ve got money flowing out each month with zero flowing in,” he said.

Another airline unlikely to fly once level 3 lockdown commences is Comair, which operates and British Airways.

Comair representative Stephen Forbes said as the company is currently under business rescue, it will only operate scheduled services by November.

Comair announced earlier this month that the group will enter business rescue to safeguard the interests of the company and its stakeholders after the Covid-19 crisis disrupted the implementation of a turnaround plan.

Comair CEO Wrenelle Stander said the company reported a half-year loss of R564-million for the first half of 2020.

“While we had started making good progress to fix the financial situation six months ago, the crisis meant we have not been able to implement it as we intended.

“We completely understand and support the government’s reasons for implementing the lockdown, however, as a result, we have not been able to operate any flights. Now that the phased lockdown has been extended the grounding is likely to endure until October or even November. These extraordinary circumstances have completely eroded our revenue base while we are still obliged to meet fixed overhead costs. The only responsible decision is to apply for business rescue,” said Stander.

Mango Airlines have kept mum about their plans to fly during level 3 lockdown. The company did not respond to queries at the time of publication.


By Clinton Moodley


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