SAA has scaled down capacity in response to the low demand for air travel following travel disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Africa’s national carrier has reviewed its flight schedule and has decided to operate flights only under circumstances where its load factors and other business considerations weigh in favour of scheduling flights.

However certain flights, that have been negatively impacted more than others, are cancelled.

SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders, explained in a media statement that SAA was continuing to review its schedule to match capacity with demand as much as possible.

“Where feasible, we will consider options that include cancelling and merging flights,” said, Saunders.

SAA has cancelled a total of 162 flights from March 17 until March 31, 38 of which are international and 124 are intra-Africa.

The airline is continuing to provide a service on the domestic, regional and international networks for those passengers whose travel is essential and cannot be avoided.

SAA will continue to operate to and from destinations unaffected by travel restrictions aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19.

“Our priority is to assist those travellers wishing to repatriate to their home countries, to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Naturally, this includes South African citizens abroad wishing to return home,” Saunders explained.

The national carrier will also facilitate the transfer of qualifying passengers to or from the destinations it flies to, which have been classified as high-risk areas.

“We have updated our customer reservation policy to help our passengers defer their travel plans where possible,” said Saunders. “To this end, we have offered our customers one free ticket change, in acknowledgement of travel restrictions that are not of our customers’ own making.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has led countries across the globe to implement travel bans and restrictions, leading to the grounding of aircraft, releasing employees, and cancelling flights for many airlines.

SAA’s updated reservation policy now extends to the entire SAA route network. For specific details or information on cancelled flights, click here.

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