DURBAN - From this week, SAA will be giving up some of their flights to economically friendly airline Mango.
They will be surrendering a large number of their domestic flights between Johannesburg and Durban and a third of their flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg to Mango.
The move will not happen all at once but in a one month period according to flight schedules on the websites both airlines. More than 80 return flights a week will be affected.
On the route between Johannesburg and Durban, both SAA and Mango run 200 flights a week, SAA operates 112 and Mango 88.
By mid-February, SAA will operate just 68 flights on the return route and the rest will run by Mango.
The changes along the Johannesburg and Cape Town are less drastic but still stark.
Between the two cities, 278 return flights are run in a week.
Only 162 of those flights will be operated by SAA and the balance of 116 will be run by Mango.
This is an increase from the 76 that Mango used to operate in a week.
The route between Johannesburg and Cape Town is a profitable one with it being one of the busiest rair routes in the world.
In September, Moneyweb reported that SAA was being compelled to cut its then fleet of 62 by as much as ten.
Jimmy Conroy, the chairman of the SAA Pilots Association said that at that time, five narrow-bodied aeroplanes would be transferred to Mango.
In October, it made similar changes like the ones that they are making this week to their Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg to East London reducing the number of daily flights from four to two and three to two respectively.
Since then there seems to be a further cut down of flights to East London.
They have also made changes to the type of aircraft that is flown regionally including the Mauritius route where the aircraft went from wide to narrow and they cut down the flights from 11 to 9.
Other changes have been made on the Luanda route with the aircraft being changed from wide to narrow and the flights cut down, while they also made changes on the number of flights to Kinshasa.
In September, SAA said, "flights to Brazzaville, Pointe Noir [Republic of Congo] and Libreville [Gabon] with connections onward to Cotonou and Douala are under review".
Domestically, the cut down on flights means that SAA and BA (operated by Comair) run a similar amount of the Johannesburg and Cape Town route. Kulula operates the same number of flights as SAA between Durban and Johannesburg.
It was also reported that SAA was planning on reducing around 700 flights which are equal to 17% of its capacity.
These cuts are more than half of this previously stated total.
The airlines run via a code-share agreement, meaning that SAA customers can book either SAA or Mango through the airlines different channels including travel agents.
This has been in place on all of Mango's routes for some time (it began with the surrendering of the Durban-Cape Town in its entirety to the low-cost airline) and will simply expand to include additional flights.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE