Did SAA lie to the more than 40 S. Africans left stranded at Frankfurt Airport?

More than 40 South Africans were left stranded at Frankfurt Airport on Friday, and it appears more likely that the problem was with booking logistics and not a faulty door as they were apparently told.

 South Africans left by SAA flight at Frankfurt Airport in Germany today say they have to sleep there as they can’t afford accommodation. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – Aviation experts say the South African Airways (SAA) flight that was reportedly unable to accommodate some passengers ready to return home from Germany was likely overbooked.

However, SAA told passengers not all of them could board the aircraft due to a faulty door.

More than 40 South Africans were left stranded at Frankfurt Airport on Friday, and it appears more likely that the problem was with booking logistics.

The Department of International Relations said it has repatriated more than 8,000 South Africans from many countries by land and air – using different airlines and charter flights, including SAA.

Before those flights took off, officials established how many people needed to travel; sometimes from many different countries to one departure point.

First, to ensure that there’s enough space for all the passengers and, secondly, that there’s enough passengers for the airline to be profitable when it did take off.

SAA has not confirmed the capacity of the aircraft that was sent to Frankfurt, but it’s now clear that it couldn’t accommodate the 45 passengers left behind.

Aviation expert Hein Keizer said: “It’s unlikely that an aircraft would be allowed to taxi let alone take off if there’s a faulty door, so my guess is that reason is absolutely untrue. What is probably more likely is the rumours that there was an administration or booking error is more likely – that seems closer to what could have happened than a faulty door.”

SAA had not yet responded to requests for an explanation.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.