South African Airways has confirmed that it will resume services Thursday, Sept. 23. In its initial restart phase, the carrier says it will operate flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations will be added to the route network as market conditions warrant.
The airline shut down its operations worldwide in March 2020, in part due to COVID-19-related global travel bans. However even before the pandemic, the state-owned carrier had long faced financial difficulties and had filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2019.
Now, according to reports in Flight Global, South Africa’s government is ready to put the carrier through “a radical restructuring process,” according to the country’s department of public enterprises.
So far the department has not provided any details on the nature of the restructuring, but says “intense discussions” are underway with the airline’s lenders to secure funding to cover the costs of operations and restructuring over the next several months.
The national carrier came out of business rescue at the end of April 2021, according to SAA’s board chairman John Lamola. Since then, he said, the department of public enterprises together with the board and the management team have been engaged in planning for the relaunch. “The airline is restarting with a formidable business case,” Lamola said.
In a statement, interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said, “After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service and we look forward to welcoming on board our loyal passengers and flying the South African flag. There is a profound feeling of enthusiasm within Team SAA as we prepare for takeoff, with one common purpose – to rebuild and sustain a profitable airline.”
Tickets for SAA flights are already on sale, and Voyager bookings and travel credit voucher redemption will be available beginning Sept. 6.