South African Airways has entered bankruptcy protection.
This means that South African Airlines is protected from liquidation whilst the company gets its affairs into order.
Whist this means that the airline can still operate, under South African law, any company that enters bankruptcy protection has to be able to demonstrate that it can exit. Otherwise the company will be wound up.
The airline has been struggling financially for a number of years. The last time it made a profit was back in 2011. Since then it has been reliant on a number of government bailouts.
The final nail in the coffin for the fall carrier was a recent strike by staff, which grounded a number of flights.
Since last week, The Flight Centre has ceased selling tickets on the national airline. This was followed by Sanlam’s Travel Insurance Consultants excluding South African Airways from insolvency cover.
South African has also failed to pay employees their full wages for November.
The news about South African will come as a blow to Star Alliance. It has been rumoured for a while now that fellow alliance partner Thai Airways has been on shaky ground.
The airline was founded in 1934. It operated a mostly dated fleet of 47 Airbus aircraft, including the A320 series, A330 and A340-300/600. It had recently taken delivery of the first of 4 Airbus A350 aircraft, all of which were due to be leased from either Hainan Airlines or Air Mauritius.
The airline operates to a total of 38 destinations. Most destinations cover the African continent, however the airline is also seen in London, New York, Washington, Munich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Perth.
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