South African Airways cancels nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights November 15 and 16. Picture: Supplied.

South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16, 2019, the airline revealed in a statement. 

SAA Spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the airline’s main objective is to minimise the impact of disruptions on its customers.

The cancellations follow an announcement by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) that their members will embark on industrial action this Friday. 

“We are putting our customers first and regret the inevitable inconvenience that these cancellations may cause our customers. However, by acting proactively, SAA can certainly help customers find alternatives,” said Tlali. 

Tlali said unless alternative arrangements were in place, customers were requested not to go to their departure airports during the disruption as SAA will be unable to provide any assistance. 

The airline will update the status of flights on their website. Tlali revealed that only flights operated by South African Airways will be affected. All flights operated on partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink and all codeshare partners, including flights operated by our Star Alliance partner airlines will not be affected. 

Tlali revealed that these flights can be identified by their flight numbers: SA 1000 –1999, SA 2000 –2999, SA 7000 –7999 and SA 8000 to 8999.

Tlali also said SAA will operate flights from selected outstations on Friday, November 15, 2019, back to SAA’s base, OR Tambo International Airport.  
Regional flights, which will operate on Friday morning, will return from Maputo (SA147), Lusaka (SA067), Harare (SA025), Windhoek (SA073), and Accra (SA210).

International flights, which will operate on Friday evening, will return from Frankfurt (SA261), New York (SA204), Munich (SA265), Hong Kong (SA287), Perth (SA281), Washington (SA210) and London (SA235).

"The airline will assess the situation on an ongoing basis. Customers will be informed of all operational developments daily.

"During the negotiations with the unions, SAA presented a revised offer for employees delivering a 5.9% increase subject to the availability of funds from lenders. NUMSA and SACCA are demanding an 8% increase,” added Tlali. The airline also stated that SAA attempted to dissuade the unions from embarking on industrial action by providing firm commitment dates to SAA’s offer of 5.9%. 

Sacca president Zazi Sibanyoni-Mugambi said workers were demanding an 8 percent across the board wage increase, job security for at least three years, insourcing of all services that had been outsourced, and which they believe SAA can fulfill.  

Meanwhile, Mango assured passengers that the airline will continue to operate as normal.

“Like many airlines in South Africa, will be working together with SAA to accommodate passengers stranded by the strike. We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work hard to make sure guests reach their destination,” a statement revealed.

Mango said the airline had contingency plans in place and were ready to activate them should we experience any disruptions to our service during this time. 

Comair said contingency plans were in place to mitigate any impact the SAAT strike may have on Comair’s fleet availability and flight schedule.

Wrenelle Stander, Comair’s Joint CEO, said the airline will do everything possible to keep customers informed and to minimise the impact of any SAAT strike action. 

Comair is committed to providing a safe, secure, reliable and quality airline service to its customers. The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority and never compromised.

"Serving our customers remains our priority. Comair customers can check the latest flight information on the relevant websites (ba.com / kulula.com), and customers with urgent enquiries can call 011 921 0222 for British Airways or 086 158 5852 for kulula," said Stander.