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Skywise suspends all flights until further notice

While the reason for the grounding is unclear, Chairman Javed Malik says a statement will be issued later.

FILE. When approached for comment Chairman Javed Malik said a statement would be issued later today, insisting that management was currently engaged in negotiations. Picture: Skywise Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Low-cost airline Skywise has suspended all its flights because of a pay dispute with the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), leaving passengers stranded.

The airline, which took off in February this year, has confirmed it received a notice from Acsa warning it would be shut down because of unpaid airport charges.

Now it's written an open letter to President Jacob Zuma, calling for intervention.

Skywise says it owed R4 million to Acsa and R4 million to the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS).

The airline says it had agreed to pay money in installments, two of which have already been paid.

The third was due on Tuesday, but management requested a 48-hour extension.

The airline says around 200 employees now stand to lose their jobs weeks before Christmas.

It's calling on government to intervene in this dispute to help the airline stay in business.

Eyewitness News contacted the airline's Johannesburg office for information and got this response from a staff member:

"Unfortunately all our flights have been suspended at this stage. We were just told this morning when we came to work. At this stage we still don't have any idea. We'll probably have more information later on today."

When approached for comment, Chairman Javed Malik said a statement would be issued later today, insisting that management was currently engaged in negotiations.

In October, Acsa temporarily suspended Skywise Airlines from landing or departing from its airports due to unpaid airport charges.

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