Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - Strike-hit South African Airways (SAA) said on Thursday it would suspend all flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong from November 23 up to and including December 14 to curb significant financial losses on the route.

SAA, which is running out of cash because of the week-long strike over wages and job cuts, said the losses had been exacerbated by political tensions in Hong Kong.

Two trade unions at state-owned South African Airways said they would continue talks with the airline on Thursday to try to break the deadlock on a strike over wages and job cuts that has lasted a week.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA), which have been leading the strike, said in a statement that they hoped to find an acceptable compromise in the talks with SAA.

Trade union Solidarity has revived its plans against SAA by announcing that it is bringing an application to place the cash-strapped airline into business rescue. 

Last year, Solidarity was already planning to bring a business rescue application against SAA, but decided not to proceed with the application after negotiations and an agreement with previous chief executive, Vuyani Jarana.

In a media briefing today, Solidarity said it has served court papers on SAA and the ministers of finance and public enterprises, asking the court to put SAA in business rescue. 

This comes as SAA confirmed yesterday that lenders would not advance the airline any further credit without the security and support of a sovereign guarantee.

SAA chairperson of the board implementation committee Martin  Kingston  said if SAA failed to secure guarantees from the National Treasury, the company would have to be placed into liquidation and be responsibly closed down. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE / REUTERS