South African Airways (SAA) has suspend all international operations until May 31 2020 in response to the South African government’s travel ban aimed at cushioning transmission of the novel coronavirus.
In a statement made available to Business News at the weekend, SAA acting chief executive officer Zuks Ramasia indicated that the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and attendant travel restrictions resulted in substantial decline in demand for air travel.
Said Ramasia: “The situation has caused many airlines across the world to ground aircraft, release their employees and cancel flights. In the case of SAA, this decision means that SAA will only render services on its regional and domestic routes.
“It is all our responsibility, not just government, to curb further transmission of the virus. In addition, the increasing risks to our crew of contracting the virus, including the possibility of being trapped in foreign destinations as a consequence of increasing travel bans, cannot be ignored.”
Other than Malawi in Africa, SAA operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Brazil.
Meanwhile, the national flag carrier, Malawian Airlines, says it is still operating, but with cautionary measures.
“So far we are still proceeding with scheduled operations to all our destinations,” said Malawian Airlines public relations officer Joseph Josiah.