South African Airways (SAA) has taken a decision to cease operating between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi from 01 March 2016.
The decision follows extensive analysis and efforts to make the route sustainable over a much shorter period than anticipated. The airline then sought and obtained concurrence from National Treasury after applying for permission to terminate operations on the route.
Since 29 October (2015) SAA has implemented ad hoc cancellations on the route in order to meet the different demand patterns. An application in terms of section 54 of the Public Finance Management Act was approved by the shareholder this year, authorising SAA to exit the route.
“The airline has refined its Long-Term Turnaround Strategy with specific focus on its Network and Fleet plan as part of its ongoing efforts to implement its Africa Growth Strategy.
“SAA considered capacity adjustment on this route as part of its on-going business evaluation which includes exploring a number of options to keep operations commercially viable. The decision to first reduce capacity was intended to strike a balance between the interests of our customers by providing a service, albeit a limited one and to avoid increased operating costs associated with a daily service. The anticipated high demand simply did not materialise,” said Musa Zwane, SAA Acting CEO.
The airline will also discontinue the code share agreement with Etihad Airways, due to route network rationalisation.
“We are confident that most routes previously served through this code share can be accommodated through SAA’s other code share partners and within the Star Alliance,” concluded Zwane.