In light of adverse recent developments including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, SA Express said that it will suspend operations from 18 March 2020 until further notice.
The airline said that this decision will impact both SA Express customers and staff in the following manner:
- All customers will be accommodated on alternative flights;
- All non-critical SA Express staff will be placed on compulsory leave during this time.
“The airline will utilise this period to review its current network and streamline operations for improved efficiency,” it said.
“SA Express will provide communication on any additional developments in due course.”
The International Air Transport Association has warned that the global airline industry will need government aid and bailout measures totalling between $150 billion and $200 billion (R2.5 – R3.3 trillion) if it’s to survive the coronavirus crisis, Bloomberg reports.
Even then, the pandemic is likely to reshape the industry, with many airlines failing, others consolidating and entirely new groupings emerging, IATA chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said in a webcast briefing on Tuesday.
IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said only about 30 airlines worldwide have reasonably healthy debt and earnings. And even the stronger carriers probably have only enough cash to survive for a matter of months without some sort of aid, making bankruptcy a real near-term risk, he added.
South Africa stepped up international travel bans this week as the coronavirus continued to spread at an alarming pace and the country confirmed its first instances of local transmission.
The number of people infected rose to 85 on Tuesday, up from 62 the day before, and eight of those hadn’t travelled outside the country, the Department of Health said.