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Airline remains grounded

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Despite announcing that flights would resume on Wednesday afternoon, SA Express flights remained grounded on Thursday.

SA Express remains grounded.Nicholas Rama (ANA)

DESPITE announcing that flights would resume on Wednesday afternoon, SA Express flights remained grounded on Thursday.

SA Express said in a statement on Thursday that the airline was working hard, together with its key stakeholders, to ensure a speedy resolution to the challenges that have affected its operations.

Explaining what it termed the “unfortunate confusion” that had arisen on Wednesday afternoon regarding the resumption of flights, an SA Express spokesperson said information to this effect had been released based on the understanding that the operational challenges that the airline had faced earlier in the day had been resolved.

“A meeting was held on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, between Acsa (Airports Company SA) and SA Express, facilitated by the Department of Transport and the Department of Public Enterprises, in which a resolution was taken that the withdrawal of services by Acsa be lifted pursuant on SA Express meeting prescribed conditions. These conditions were subsequently met hence the SA Express communication that flights would be resumed on Wednesday (August 28, 2019) at 4pm.

“Disappointingly, Acsa subsequently reneged on the agreements reached, which caused further inconvenience to our passengers on all routes operated by the airline.

“In the meantime, Acsa has referred the matter to their board, to apply its mind on the issue further and recommend a way forward,” the spokesperson said.

The airline promised further updates as soon as new information emerged.

“Passengers are advised to contact our reservations department (+27 11 978 9905). SA Express staff will also be present at all the airports to assist passengers. Once again, SA Express deeply regrets the inconvenience that this has caused to all its passengers and other customers.”

Flights were initially cancelled on Wednesday morning, with the cash-strapped airline citing “operational challenges”, but the airline did not disclose the nature of the problem. It later said flights would resume on Wednesday afternoon. However, this did not materialise.