On Friday and Saturday, South African Airways (SAA) suspended all its regional flights – that is, flights to other African countries – until May 31. This followed the airline’s suspension of all its international flights earlier on Friday.
This decision was taken “to support the Government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19),” stated SAA in its press release. As a result of this decision, SAA was only operating its domestic route between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
However, there were also financial reasons for the decision. The airline’s action in suspending all its international flights had a knock-on effect on its regional network.
“As a direct result of this [international] suspension, there was an immediate drastic reduction of demand for the African flights,” reported the airline. “This resulted in [the] operation of regional flights not being commercially viable anymore.”
The flights suspended on Friday were to and from Accra (Ghana), Entebbe (Uganda), Harare (Zimbabwe), Lagos (Nigeria), Lusaka (Zambia), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), and Windhoek (Namibia). The route suspended on Saturday was the one to and from Mauritius.