Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

SAA is quite the flight risk

By David Biggs Time of article published Aug 18, 2019

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We’re never short of things to worry about in this rainbow land of ours.

When I’m done worrying about my rates bill and the price of cat food I lie awake at night worrying about the plight of our state-owned enterprises, all of which seem to be hopelessly in debt.

I hear the SABC can no longer afford to broadcast football news, but I’m not particularly worried because I don’t care much about soccer anyway.

If it’s any compensation, I hear the board members are negotiating a good deal with the International Jukskei Federation, so all is not lost.

Fortunately, I have no international holidays planned in the few years ahead, but I would be hesitant to book a flight to London on an SAA plane. Can they afford the fuel to get there and back?

I read on the internet that an Airbus A330-300 takes 139000 litres of fuel to fill the tanks.

That’s a lot of fuel. I hope the guys at the Heathrow fuel pumps still accept South African credit cards. It would be very embarrassing to be seated in your economy-class seat, ready for take-off, and hear the captain announce: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Flight JZ123 to OR Tambo International Airport.

“We have a slight problem as the refuelling officials claim we have exceeded our credit limit.

“In order to commence the next leg of your journey, could we ask passengers to contribute to the cost of refuelling our aircraft.

“We require 139000 litres of fuel in order to reach Joburg safely.

“Our cabin staff will pass among you shortly, bearing bags in which you are invited to deposit your cash contributions in pounds, dollars or euros. No SA rands, please.

“We trust that you will enjoy your flight and thank you for choosing South African Airways.”

I have no idea what a litre of Airbus fuel costs, but I imagine it’s roughly in line with the price of a litre of bakkie fuel, which is what I buy for around R17.

I suppose airlines get a bulk discount, so even at a bargain R10 a litre that’s close to R1.4million for a tank-full “just to the first click”.

I hope your fellow passengers have full wallets.

I notice an increasing number of my friends are choosing to travel with Ethiopian Airlines.

I know nothing about the Ethiopian government or the financial status of Ethiopian Airlines, but they seem to be doing pretty well.

I believe it’s one of the fastest growing airlines in the world.

Maybe we should send somebody to Ethiopia to see what they’re doing right.

Last Laugh

A golfer was taking ages to line up his tee shot and get into the perfect hitting position.

Eventually his opponent became impatient and said: “For goodness sake, hurry up and play.”

“Sorry,” he said, “but my wife is watching us from the clubhouse and I want to be sure I play a perfect shot.”

“Don’t be daft, man,” said his opponent, ”you’ll never hit her from here.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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