Aviation Blues: South African Airways moves to cut 60 percent jobs to navigate COVID-19 crisis

*The South African Airways has been mired in bankruptcy proceedings and its own major job-cuts plan, and international travel restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 have hampered efforts at resuming operations

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In smartening up from the devastating impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), South African Airways’ (SAA) plane-maintenance division is cutting jobs to help navigate the crisis that’s gripped the aviation industry throughout pandemic.

The SAA Technical in a statement said that the restructuring is unavoidable in light of reduced demand from its airline service consumers.

Although the state-owned aviation firm did not specify the number of employees that would be affected in the downsizing exercise, Derek Mans, a representative of the Solidarity union, said about 60 percent of a total workforce of just over 2,000 could be eliminated in the process.

It was learnt the move comes more than a year after SAA, the national carrier and SAA Technical’s main customer, last flew a commercial flight from the Southern African country.

ConsumerConnect had reported that the airline has been mired in bankruptcy proceedings and its own major job-cuts plan, just as international travel restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 have hampered efforts at resuming even a partial service for over a year now.

Mango Airlines, another member of the SAA group, is also in difficulty, according to agency report.

The low-cost carrier was briefly suspended from flying Wednesday, April 28 by the country’s airports operator over the non-payment of fees.

The airline eventually settled part of its debt after emergency talks, report stated.

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