South African Airways (SAA), the country’s national carrier, has cancelled 162 of its flights between March 17 and March 31 March due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the media reported.
Out of the 162 cancelled flights by South African Airways, 38 of them are international flights and 124 are domestic flights.
With regard to the cancelled flights, South African Airways said in a statement, “The effects of the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) have led to travel disruptions and restrictions across the world, leading to the grounding of aircraft, releasing employees, and cancelling flights for many airlines. SAA is not immune to these realities.”
Philip Saunders, chief executive at South African Airways revealed that the carrier is continuously reviewing its schedule to meet capacity with demand to the extent possible.
The global aviation industry has taken a severe hit due to the Covid-19 outbreak with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) claiming the industry could lose around $113 billion in revenue.
But amid this, the reduction in international flights has deflated the price of leasing jets which is giving South African Airways an upper hand in negotiation, according to Siviwe Dongwana, one of two administrators hired by the government to draw up a turnaround plan.
IATA also reported that the outbreak of the Covid-19 or the coronavirus could see African airlines lose around $40 million in revenue this year. However, the number could rise significantly as the Covid-19 virus has now spread to Europe as well as Africa.
In a fresh report, IATA also revealed that carriers across the globe might need a bailout package of around $250 billion. The report further warned that some carriers might go bankrupt as they lack sufficient cash to survive for more than three months.