South African Airways cuts destinations; US flights not affected

Feb 6, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

South Africa’s struggling flag carrier is reducing its route network as part of a plan its managers hope will revitalize the business.

On Thursday, South African Airways released a statement announcing that it would end a number of domestic and international routes at the end of February.

The cuts include services from Johannesburg to Hong Kong, Munich and Sao Paulo, and all domestic flights aside from those between Johannesburg and Cape Town, though SAA will reduce its frequencies on that route. Flights to a number of African destinations are also being eliminated.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news

Flights to international destinations including New York, Washington, London and Frankfurt will remain on the schedule, and domestic flights operated by SAA’s low-cost subsidiary, Mango, will not be affected.

The cuts are part of the airline’s business rescue plan, which the government announced in December.

“The initiatives we are taking now will strengthen SAA’s business. We believe that this should provide reassurance to our loyal customers that SAA is moving in the right direction. We are focused on our mandate to restore SAA’s commercial health and create an airline that South Africans will be proud of,” the business rescue managers said in a statement.

For Robert W. Mann, an aviation analyst and consultant who has worked with SAA previously, this is just the latest chapter in what he described as a long and sad story of an airline struggling to thrive.

“Despite all the potential in the region, SAA and its regional SAX never managed to plan well, operate efficiently, or control their costs,” Mann said in an email. “There will no doubt be an impact on the South African economy and tourism.”

SAA said it would make every effort to limit the job losses as a result of this action.

If you’re still planning to fly the carrier, you could have wildly different experiences depending on which aircraft operates your route. Read some of TPG’s recent reviews to see what’s on offer.

Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.