Pretoria – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has granted approval for South African Airways (SAA) to cease operating its route between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi.
In a statement on Friday, National Treasury said the route, which was commenced by the national carrier in March 2015, did not perform as expected.
“SAA’s interventions to improve the financial performance on this route had unfortunately not yielded the desired results, warranting that decisive action be taken to mitigate the negative impact on the airline,” said National Treasury.
SAA operated the route in codeshare with Etihad Airways. Etihad will still be flying between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi, and offering South African Airways passengers the opportunity to connect to a range of destinations in China, India and Asia as well as in Europe and the Middle East.
“National Treasury and the Department of Tourism are certain that the decision will not impact tourism and connectivity. National Treasury worked closely with the Department of Tourism to weigh the costs and benefits of closing the route and agreed that the closure was in the best interest of both South Africa and SAA,” National Treasury said.
In November 2015, the airline announced that its Chief Commercial Officer, Sylvain Bosc, had been suspended.
“SAA has taken a decision to suspend Mr Bosc, pursuant to a forensic investigation by ENSafrica into various allegations that were received through Deloitte’s tip-off hotline,” said SAA at the time.
SAA said a forensic investigation confirmed that there was substance to the tip-off allegation, which suggested that Bosc allegedly doctored the numbers for Abu Dhabi to favour the opening of this route and sold SAA out.