COVID-19: Impact on South African Airways

Old Mar 14, 20, 11:00 pm
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COVID-19: Impact on South African Airways

COVID-19: Impact on South African Airways

As far as I can tell, there has been no impact yet on SAA flights to cause cancellations related to the Coronavirus.
As of March 14, there is 38 known cases of the virus in South Africa. 0 Deaths.
Presumably their recently cuts to flights put them in a better position to handle a downturn in bookings....that said, does anyone have any data/facts/speculation on how this is/will affect SAA? Are passenger numbers dropping significantly due to the virus?

I am flying SAA mid-May IAD-JNB (fuel stop in ACC), then connecting to JNB-CPT.
I also have a flight with Air Nambia to WDH, and then head back to the US on Ethiopian WDH-ADD-IAD (fuel stop in DUB).
Looks increasingly likely the trip will be abandoned for one reason of another. The next few weeks will bring clarity.

Their website has a notice indicating its business as usual with extra cleaning:

12 March 2020 - SAA adheres to World Health Organisation and IATA protocols on covid-19 coronavirusExpanded Content
JOHANNESBURG, 12 March 2020 – South African Airways (SAA) assures customers that its operational health and safety procedures adhere to the World Health Organisation’s protocols to protect its customers and crew from contracting the COVID-19 (coronavirus) while flying with SAA.
SAA follows procedures, advice and guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Civil Aviation Authorities as well as the airports and customs authorities’ directives to ensure the safety of its customers.

“The safety, health and wellbeing of our customers and crew is a number one priority. To ensure their wellbeing, we adhere to the following procedures:

• To clean the aircraft, SAA uses the disinfectants, which have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are effective against the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

• The cleaning protocols our teams use to clean our aircraft have been intensified and focus among other things, on high frequent touch points such as handles, seatbelt buckles, tray tables and armrests.

• Hard surfaces such as lavatories, galley units and window shades are also thoroughly cleaned with multi-purpose cleaners.

• The Airbus fleet is equipped with state-of-the-art, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that sift out and remove dust, bacteria, allergens and other unhygienic particles.

• SAA crew have been trained to handle situations involving communicable diseases or any other medical emergencies on board and they work closely with ground and inflight expert medical assistance.

• All our aircraft are loaded with bio-hazardous spill kits in case of a contamination event (or to handle a contamination event) and cleaning materials.

“We assess all our passengers and advise that if they are feeling ill, they need to follow recommendations offered by medical professionals,” SAA said in a statement.

SAA said that although it is following customs limits and guidelines, passengers are welcome to travel with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers.

SAA crew use officially approved and industry recognised disinfectants on all flights. Cabin crew (Flight attendants) use gloves sanctioned by the food industry. The airline uses sanitation procedures for all domestic, regional and international flights. Should a passenger show any respiratory symptoms on board, i.e. coughing, sneezing, our crew will provide a surgical mask to the passenger to prevent transmission of micro-organisms.

Should health authorities inform the airline that a person who travelled with SAA exhibited coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft will be taken out of service and put through a decontamination process.

While SAA takes all the necessary steps to ensure that their customers enjoy a healthy flying experience, the airline advises customers to also take precautions to stay healthy while flying.

The Global recommended Precautionary tips include:

• Wash hands with soap often;
• Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after touching any surface;
• Avoid touching eyes, face and nose;
• Avoid contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible and
• Stay home if sick.

We thank customers for the support by continuing to place their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans.

For further information, please contact:
SAA Spokesperson
Mr Tlali Tlali .

Last edited by FlyingHighlander; Mar 14, 20 at 11:05 pm
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Old Mar 15, 20, 7:28 pm
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Looks like there will be problems. See this thread about South African travel bans South Africa- Bans foreigners from high risk countries - including USA (COVID-19)
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Old Mar 15, 20, 7:53 pm
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News from Ghana. I wonder how this will affect the IAD-ACC-JNB flight. It has a technical/fuel stop in Accra, Ghana. Some passengers end their journey there/others board to fly ACC-JNB. I'm a US Citizen and currently booked on this flight IAD-ACC-JNB in May. Will I be allowed to fly? I dont need entry to Ghana, but I do need to transit through. Wont even leave the plane.

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/health-...navirus-spread
"In west Africa, Ghana will from Tuesday ban entry to anyone who has been to a country with more than 200 cases in the last 14 days, unless they are an official resident or a Ghanaian national."


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-hit-countries

"The government is asking airlines to stop affected travelers from boarding flights, while citizens and resident-permit holders will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told reporters Sunday in the capital, Accra.

“All travel to Ghana is strongly discouraged,” he said. Confirmed cases have increased to six after four more people, all of whom who traveled abroad, tested positive."

Last edited by FlyingHighlander; Mar 15, 20 at 7:59 pm
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Old Mar 16, 20, 6:13 am
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I have a friend flying ACC-IAD next week (US Citizen). I hope that he will be able to lfy it.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 6:14 am
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Originally Posted by DeafFlyer View Post
I have a friend flying ACC-IAD next week (US Citizen). I hope that he will be able to lfy it.
Assuming the flight goes ahead, there no reason he couldn't fly it, is there?
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Old Mar 16, 20, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
Assuming the flight goes ahead, there no reason he couldn't fly it, is there?
I don't know the situation wit COVID-19 in Ghana. I'm just hoping there won't be travel bans from the US, or some other reason SAA wouldn't fly the route. He did ask me via Whatsapp, but I don't know what to say other than that the flight is still flying ever day.
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Old Mar 17, 20, 8:04 pm
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Travel ban from the US to Ghana was instituted as of 1 PM today: https://gh.usembassy.gov/health-alert-u-s-embassy-accra-ghana-4/ No one from the US will be allowed to enter Ghana for 30 days.

I left Ghana last night on SA 209 so as not to be potentially stuck there. That JNB-ACC-IAD flight was overbooked in ACC as many US citizens were leaving as COVID-19 restrictions were being put into effect. I was downgraded (J was overbooked by 10!), but at least got home. I'm sure some people were involuntarily denied boarding.

What this means for the SA route remains to be seen. Perhaps it will stop flying daily as so many countries are on the "do not enter" list.
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Old Mar 17, 20, 10:18 pm
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Good info, thanks. Reading that, it's not clear to me what this means for passengers in transit.

Let's pretend that South Africa doesnt have any entry restrictions.... could a US citizen fly IAD-ACC-JNB? Or would they not even be allowed to stay on the plane/transit through ACC?
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Old Mar 18, 20, 5:05 am
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I advised my friend to try and fly back early. I don't know if that is possible. Should he just head to the airport (ACC) and hope to get out on the next flight, if there is a next flight?
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Old Mar 18, 20, 7:31 am
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South African Airways cancels 162 flights in March (38 International / 124 Regional)

https://www.flysaa.com/about-us/lead...eases/newsroom

JOHANNESBURG. 18 March 2020. South African Airways (SAA) has scaled down capacity in response to the low demand for air travel. 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.

In the light of the substantial fall in demand for air travel, SAA has reviewed its flight schedule and has decided to operate flights only under circumstances where its load factors and other business considerations weigh in favour of scheduling flights. However, certain flights that have been negatively impacted more than others, are consequently cancelled.

“Notwithstanding the decline in demand, SAA continues to aggressively review its schedule to match capacity with demand to the extent possible. Where feasible, we will consider options that include cancelling and merging flights,” said SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders.
For the period 17 until 31 March 2020, SAA has cancelled a total of 162 flights. Of these, 38 are international and 124 are regional (destinations on the African continent) flights.

For specific details or information on cancelled flights, click here.

At the same time, the airline is continuing to provide a service on the domestic, regional and international networks for those passengers whose travel is essential and cannot be avoided. For the time being, the airline will continue to operate to and from destinations unaffected by travel restrictions aimed at combatting the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Our priority is to assist those travellers wishing to repatriate to their home countries to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Naturally, this includes South African citizens abroad wishing to return home,” Saunders explained.
Subject to the conditions set out in the travel ban announced by government in South Africa, SAA will also facilitate the transfer of qualifying passengers to or from the destinations it flies to, which have been classified as high-risk areas.
Appreciating the impact of travel restrictions emanating from the outbreak of the Coronavirus, SAA has demonstrated its commitment towards looking after its customers by providing flexible rebooking options.
“We have updated our Customer Reservation Policy to help our passengers defer their travel plans where possible. To this end, we have offered our customers one free ticket change, in acknowledgement of travel restrictions that are not of our customers’ own making,” Saunders elaborated.
The Updated Reservation Policy now extends to the entire SAA route network.
.

Last edited by FlyingHighlander; Mar 18, 20 at 7:36 am
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Old Mar 18, 20, 7:36 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
Is that all of their international routes? I guess it means my friend is stuck in Ghana.

I found this on their site: https://www.flysaa.com/about-us/leading-carrier/media-center/media-releases/newsroom The first link on that page

It seems that the JNB-ACC-IAD will still fly, but not daily like it has been. That's if I understand it correctly.

Last edited by DeafFlyer; Mar 18, 20 at 7:48 am
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Old Mar 18, 20, 8:26 am
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I'm not sure if all their international routes are affected (I'm not a SAA expert by any means) but it looks like it.

You are correct that only a few JNB-ACC-IAD have been cancelled, so you friend should be good....obviously they need to figure that out for sure depending on their plans.
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Old Mar 19, 20, 6:13 am
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https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/n...-curb-covid-19
  • South Africa:
The South African Government has imposed a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China as from March 18, 2020. Visas issued to visitors from those countries have been cancelled effective March 15 and previously granted visas are hereby revoked. The move will likely affect South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) and its flights to London Heathrow, Frankfurt Int'l, Munich, Washington Dulles, and New York JFK. In addition, South African citizens have been advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran, and South Korea. This is effective immediately.

South African Express (XZ, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has suspended all flights as of 0000L, March 18, until further notice. Although the COVID-19 crisis did the play a role in its accelerated demise, the bankrupt state-owned carrier has also been unable to access capital needed to relaunch its business following years of protracted losses. Last week, SA Express's business rescue practitioners Phahlani Mkhombo and Daniel Terblanche lambasted the South African Department of Public Enterprises for interfering and undermining their efforts to restructure the state-owned airline. In court documents seen by the Daily Maverick newspaper, the BRPs said they had only been met by "open hostility and aggression" in their dealings with the government. They claimed that the DPE had engaged with creditor Ziegler SA to “persuade them to withdraw the business rescue application”, or remove the two BRPs from restructuring the airline. With no source of revenue, heavy debts, and recapitalisation in sight, SA Express faces the prospect of liquidation.
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Old Mar 20, 20, 4:35 am
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Exclamation SAA suspends all international flights until end May

JUST IN: SAA suspends all international flights til end of May
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Old Mar 20, 20, 5:40 am
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Which is all flights other than JNB-CPT.
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