File photo: Nicholas Rama (ANA).

CAPE TOWN - Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) on Thursday confirmed it had suspended state-owned airline SA Express from landing and taking off from its runways as a result of non-payment of airport fees accrued over a period of time.

Acsa said in a statement that confidentiality prevented it from disclosing exactly how much SA Express owed it, but said its executives had for several months been meeting with the airline's executives to get them to settle the outstanding payment for passenger service charges, landing and parking fees.

The airline in a media release earlier on Thursday had accused Acsa of reneging on an agreement reached in a meeting on Wednesday for flights to resume. Acsa disputed this, saying SA Express did not hold up to its end of the deal. 

"Further undertakings were made during that engagement. Airports Company South Africa agreed to lift the suspension should these further undertakings be met. 

"Unfortunately, these conditions were not met and the suspension of SA Express remains in place," Acsa said.

"Airports Company South Africa regrets that this decision became necessary to ensure fairness to all airlines."

The latest debacle involving the cash-strapped airline has led to renewed calls for SA Express to be closed down after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni reportedly refused another bailout. 

The airline's latest financial woes follow damning testimony before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on, which heard that millions was siphoned from SA Express for the benefit of senior ANC officials. 

African News Agency (ANA)