Coronavirus grounds SA Express

Coronavirus compounds it’s already strained financial position

Embattled airline SA Express has suspended its operations from today (Wednesday) until further notice as the novel coronavirus eats into its operations.

“In light of adverse recent developments including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SA Express announces that it will suspend operations from 18 March 2020 until further notice,” the company said in a statement.

“The airline will utilise this period to review its current network and streamline operations for improved efficiency.”

The airline industry is one of those affected by the travel restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night as part of wide-ranging government efforts to try and curb the raging virus.

It said its decision will impact both SA Express customers and staff.

All its customers will be accommodated on alternative flights and non-critical SA Express staff will be placed on compulsory leave during this time.

SA Express was placed in business rescue by an order of the court in February, two months after South African Airways (SAA) entered voluntary business rescue.
The court’s decision to place SA Express in business rescue was pursuant to an urgent application brought by service provider Ziegler South Africa over debts of more than R11 million and on the basis that SA Express is unable to pay its debts.

While SA Express and SAA are both state-owned airlines, they are distinct businesses.

By Kabelo Khumalo

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