State-owned domestic airline Mango is facing financial uncertainty, raising questions about how much longer it can stay in the air.
While the airline is yet to make any official announcements, BusinessDay reported that a delay in government funding means that the airline is set to stop operating from 1 May, and enter into business rescue.
Travel agencies have now begun advising customers about the potential grounding, warning that flights might not continue next week as scheduled.
Travelstart said that all Mango flights departing from now until 30 April will continue to operate as scheduled. However, it indicated that there was uncertainty about flights after this date.
“Please have your Mango reference number (check your E-ticket under airline reference) and passenger date of birth at hand when checking on the website,” it said in a notice on its website.
“Additionally, please also be on the lookout for SMS updates regarding any schedule changes. For flights departing after 30 April we ask that you please be patient and keep an eye on your inbox. We will communicate further details as soon possible.”
In a message posted to social media on Wednesday morning (28 April), Mango said that it was facing flight interruptions and delays and was working on a solution.
Mango Airlines apologises for this morning’s flight interruptions and delays.
We are currently working on a solution and will be back at the counters and hope to clear the delays as soon possible.
We apologise in advance for the inconvenience caused.
— Mango Airlines (@FlyMangoSA) April 28, 2021
The airline’s financial issues have been exacerbated by delayed funding from government over the last year, with the Department of Public Enterprises meeting with Mango’s board this weekend about repositioning the airline.
A Mango spokesperson said that the airline is expecting some of the R10.5 billion set aside for South African Airways (SAA), but that will require a special appropriation bill, which has not yet been tabled in parliament.
This is the second state-owned airline to be hit with financial problems in as many years, with SAA entering into business rescue in December 2019.