Ahead of a planned strike, SAA has scrapped all domestic, regional, and international flights on Friday November 15th and Saturday November 16th, with the exception of a few international flights.
"Customers are requested not to travel to their departure airport unless in possession of a rebooked itinerary," the airline said in a statement on Thursday night.
The South African Airways Cabin Crew Association (SACAA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) served the airline with a strike notice for Friday. The unions claim that 3,000 of their members will be participating, which will start at 04:00 on Friday morning. Cabin crew, check-in staff and technical staff will be involved.
SAA has 5,146 employees and earlier this week announced plans to retrench up to a fifth of their workers as it battles massive losses, which have piled up to R28bn. The unions are protesting the planned retrenchments and unmet wage hike demands, while SAA's acting CEO Zuks Ramasia has warned that the airline, which is technical insolvent, may not be able to recover from the strike.
The cancellations will only affect flights operated by SAA. Flights operated on its partner airlines Mango, SA Express, Airlink and all codeshare partners will not be affected.
Affected passengers are asked to contact the SAA contact centre or their travel agents. Passengers will be allowed to rebook any other SAA flight until 31st October 2020 at no extra charge and subject to availability in the same booking class
If the passenger no longer wishes to travel, then the booking can be cancelled and a full refund (including taxes) will be offered to the original form of payment.
"Re-routing would be permitted," SAA said. "Where possible rebook onto flights operated by any of SAA's Star Alliance, Codeshare and Interline Partners to transport customers to their final destination with minimal disruption."
All tickets must be reissued on or before 30th November 2019.
During the strike, SAA will not be able to provide any support for unaccompanied minors.
The following international flights would be operating on Friday:
The following flight number ranges would operate normally:
SA1000 to SA1999
SA2000 to SA2999
SA7000 to SA7999
SA8000 to SA8999