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SAA cancels flights for Friday, Saturday ahead of strike

SAA has, however, clarified that partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango and SA Airlink will not be affected by the cancellations.

SAA new Airbus A330-200 named Charllote Maxeke arrives at the Cape Town International Airport. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - In anticipation of a strike by unions, South African Airways (SAA) has decided to cancel all domestic and international flights for Friday and Saturday.

Unions including Numsa and the SA Cabin Crew Association have served the airline with a strike notice.

They're unhappy with SAA's restructuring plans which it announced this week in a bid to keep it afloat.

The airline said that more than 900 jobs could be lost in the process.

SAA has, however, clarified that partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango and SA Airlink would not be affected by the cancellations.

SAA said that the strike would hurt the already cash-strapped airline with estimated losses of more than R50 million per day.

Spokesperson Tlali Tlali: "We do not want to underestimate the impact this particular decision will have on the airline. We operate approximately 104 flights a day and when you look at the revenue that we raise, it is approximately R52 million per day. The strike will have a serious impact financially and operationally on us."

Tlali added that a late-night meeting to avert a strike was not successful.

"We decided that under the circumstances, the best thing to do was to cancel flights and to give our customers minimum reasonable notice in order for them to explore alternative travel arrangements."

SAA said that passengers affected by the cancellation of flights would either be refunded, accommodated on other airlines or have their flights rescheduled.

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