South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled “selected domestic flights” and its service to Munich over the coming days after denying rumours that is on the verge of collapse.

The carrier responded to media speculation yesterday by saying “flights to all its destinations continue as normal”.

But it added: “Where there may be flight schedule amendments, such operational changes will be managed and communicated in accordance with the industry norms and practices.”

Now SAA has announced it is “consolidating” some domestic services from Johannesburg to Cape Town and Durban’s King Shaka airport. The following flights have been cancelled:

Johannesburg (JNB) – Cape Town (CPT)
SA303                  Depart 0530      Arrive 0735       Dates: 20, 21 and 24 January
SA307                  Depart 0700      Arrive 0905       Dates: 21 January

Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA316                  Depart 0820      Arrive 1015       Dates: 20, 21 and 24 January
SA322                  Depart 0950      Arrive 1145       Dates: 21 January

Johannesburg (JNB) – Durban (DUR)
SA527                  Depart 0630      Arrive 0735       Dates: 20, 21, 22 and 23 January
SA543                  Depart 0955      Arrive 1100       Dates: 20, 21, 22 and 23 January
SA571                  Depart 1655      Arrive 1800       Dates: 20 and 21 January

Durban (DUR) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA534                  Depart 0805      Arrive 0910       Dates: 20, 21, 22 and 23 January
SA550                  Depart 1130      Arrive 1235       Dates: 20, 21, 22 and 23 January
SA578                  Depart 1840      Arrive 1945       Dates: 20 and 21 January

In addition, flights SA264 and SA265 between Johannesburg and Munich have been cancelled from 20-24 January.

SAA said it is working with sister airline Mango to re-accommodate passengers on alternative services operated by both carriers.

SAA was placed into a form of bankruptcy protection in December after the government and lenders agreed loans totalling 4 billion rand (£211 million) to keep it in operation. However, local media reports say the government missed the deadline for providing the cash boost and is demanding guarantees before it will pay.

In a statement about the cancellations, the airline said: “These decisions are in line with SAA’s usual policy of reviewing flights and consolidating services with low demand. Furthermore, during the current process of Business Rescue, these cancellations represent a responsible strategy to conserve cash and optimise the airline’s position ahead of any further capital investment.

“The consolidation on the Cape Town route is also necessary as SAA has been operating training flights for pilots on the new state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft on this route before transferring the new planes to international routes. The introduction of these larger aircraft has resulted in temporary surplus capacity on the route.”

It added that it will be reviewing further possible schedule amendments over the coming days, with announcements of any cancellations to be made “at the earliest opportunity”.

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