November 26, 2019: South African Airways (SAA) has suspended all services between Johannesburg and Hong Kong from November 23 until December 14, 2019. This decision has been taken to curb significant financial losses incurred on the route, exacerbated recently by the ongoing political tensions in Hong Kong.

“The decision to suspend services to Hong Kong is regrettable but necessitated by the current downturn in business due to the developing challenges in the region. By suspending these flights, we can concentrate on resuming more regional services at the earliest opportunity and make better use of all our resources,” said Philip Saunders, SAA’s chief commercial officer.

SAA will be implementing a re-accommodation policy for customers booked on services to and from Hong Kong and will be in contact with customers at the earliest opportunity. At present, the airline operates four services every week between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

In recent months, several airlines have announced reductions in services and capacity to Hong Kong. These include the home-based carrier Cathay Pacific, as well as Air China, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, United Airlines, and others. The impact of these reduced operations is further reinforced by a year-on-year decline of 13 percent in passenger volumes recorded at Hong Kong International Airport in October 2019.

In another development, SAA has resumed selected flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban and Victoria Falls, with effect from November 21, 2019. The airline is now also successfully operating services to six destinations on the African continent, namely Accra, Lagos, Lusaka, Maputo, Windhoek and Harare on an ongoing basis. The suspension was due to the industrial action by the South African Cabin Crew Association and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).

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