SA Express Suspends Operations

SA Express said it would suspend operations from Wednesday, due in part to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Customers will be accommodated on alternative flights and “non-critical” staff will be placed on compulsory leave, the airline said in a statement issued late on Tuesday night.

“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 statement read.

SA Express is a state-owned, regional airline operates domestic routes as well as to regions such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the DRC. SA Express was placed under business rescue by order of the courts in early February, Fin24 previousy reported.

The decision to suspend operations comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a state of national disaster, resulting in the declaration of a travel ban to and from restricted countries South Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany, the US, UK and China. The ban kicks in on Wednesday.

The president also discouraged non-essential domestic travel by air, rail, taxis and bus.

In response, airlines British Airways and – both owned by Comair – as well as national carrier SAA and its subsidiary Mango Airlines waived fares for flight changes, Business Insider reported.