South African – dead or alive?

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  • MartinJ
    Participant

    It seems that South African are grounded but still operational. You would think that they would be throwing unfilled seats at Star Alliance members’ frequent flyer programmes to raise cash, but my search through Miles&More, Mileage Plus and Lifemiles (the three programmes I bank with) yielded not a single seat for the months of October and November 2021 on any SAA flight between JNB and CPT or between JNB and the few remaining European destinations they are flying to. I am confused … Are SAA dead or alive? Are they bookable through Star Alliance FFP?


    SimonS1
    Participant

    At present – dead.

    The are codesharing on some Mango flights locally. Also Airlink is operating but they have stopped using SA prefix and are now using 4Z flight numbers.

    But SAA metal – not as far as I know.


    MartinJ
    Participant

    Thanks, SimonS1. Do SAA have any operations planned for later this year or early next year? It’s just that getting around southern Africa on a Star Alliance ward ticket is nigh on impossible without SAA.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Unlikely. Most aircraft are gone, still many staff disputes to settle, and generally not looking good.

    Restart of SAA version 2.0 unlikely in first half of 2021


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    A neighbour of mine on the Game Reserve was a senior Captain with SAA. He was let go with most of the other crew about a year ago and he’s still waiting for his pay. He told me they are trying to revive SAA but it’s a seemingly impossible task. Usual problems, while crew are mostly resigned to their fate, office, admin, operation staff etc all want their jobs back which is part of the reason they went bankrupt in the first place.

    Hence SAA is in business rescue – a sort of chapter 11 but it’s unlikely it will be rescued.

    Mango is still flying and SAA Technical is still operational, both are wholly SAA owned subsidiary’s. I believe it’s up for sale as a going concern.

    Airlink was never SAA owned, is profitable and is owned by Rodger Foster, an extremely astute businessman and an awfully nice fellow. It flew under the SAA flag and while it’s planes still sport the SAA logo, and I believe still accept bookings through the SAA website, it’s no longer a part of the alliance with SAA.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    Airlink was never SAA owned, is profitable and is owned by Rodger Foster, an extremely astute businessman and an awfully nice fellow. It flew under the SAA flag and while it’s planes still sport the SAA logo, and I believe still accept bookings through the SAA website, it’s no longer a part of the alliance with SAA.

    Interesting. I saw online Airlink is now the 2nd largest airline (by flights) within Africa serving 63 destinations in 14 countries. So maybe in effect it is SAA mark 2.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Interesting. I saw online Airlink is now the 2nd largest airline (by flights) within Africa serving 63 destinations in 14 countries. So maybe in effect it is SAA mark 2.

    I almost reported you Simon! I’m so used to clicking on the right to thank that as my mouse whisked over by a millisecond I saw the red “report” button 😉
    Almost everyone thought they were SAA owned and you’re right, they are expanding. They’ve bought new planes but nothing big to serve Europe / America which it seems they have no plans to do.

    Here’s a link to their route network.

    https://www.flyairlink.com/routemap


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Yes, by popular request we have separated those two buttons!

    7 users thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    Yes, by popular request we have separated those two buttons!

    Hi Tom, as per other post, is it possible to do something about the rule that means any post with a web link goes into an “awaiting moderation” loop?

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    MartinJ
    Participant

    It looks like through an interline agreement with the Lufthansa group Airlink are now picking up the domestic business that used to go to fellow Star Alliance member SAA. So even if SAA do come back the world will be a different place …


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    It looks like through an interline agreement with the Lufthansa group Airlink are now picking up the domestic business that used to go to fellow Star Alliance member SAA. So even if SAA do come back the world will be a different place …

    That is good news, but not really that different than previously. Airlink bookings were always handled through the SAA website, and if you had an onward booking with SAA/Express/Airlink you could through check your bags to your destination, though you had to clear customs at JNB or CPT first. For the return you could through check.

    Booking a through ticket was another matter -in my case to George. LH/LX offered through tickets but the cost was at least double for the JNB-GRJ part than booking separate tickets. The connections were also awful as booking the earlier flights were impossible. Arriving at 0925 into JNB there was an 1110 connection to GRJ, but you could only book the 1430 one. Likewise for the return, though in the afternoon.

    However, as long as you could show a booking, they would through check the baggage. The main advantage of this, was internally you had a baggage limit of 20 kgs and 1 bag. If your bags were through checked, even though you had to pass customs with them and recheck them, you could take your Business / First class allowance of 2/3 bags each at 32 kgs without having to pay extra.

    I hope this continues?

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