South African Airways (SAA) may pull out of India by end March say industry ideas after 19 years of operations. The airline operates one direct flight linking Johannesburg to Mumbai at present.
The airline will then operate a daily code share flight with Etihad Airways and will fly up to Abu Dhabi instead of Mumbai. Etihad Airways also has a minority stake in SAA.
SAA had not been making any profits flying to India and has been cutting the number of flights to India. Till 2014 end, it operated 7 flights a week which were then cut to five flights a week. These will be further cut to three a week starting February 9. With the airline deciding to cut costs and stop flying on loss-making routes, the decision to stop the India flight was taken. Out of the airline’s ten international routes, seven make losses. Mumbai ranks fifth among loss making markets.
Musafir Namah Bureau