South African Airways Strike Update: Long-Haul Flights Scheduled To Operate From Sunday

South African Airways (SAA) cabin crew began their strike on Friday that has grounded the airline sans few international flights on Friday that brought equipment and crew back to the base in Johannesburg.

The airline has now canceled all its domestic and regional flights until Tuesday. The airline plans to operate all its international long-haul flights starting Sunday, however.

You can access SAA here.

Here’s the announcement from SAA:

JOHANNESBURG. 15 November 2019. South African Airways (SAA) has extended the cancellation of all domestic and regional flights scheduled for Sunday, 17 November and Monday, 18 November 2019.  This operational decision is aimed at minimising the impact of disruptions for the airline’s customers.

The airline is pleased to announce that it is aiming to operate all international flights, departing from OR Tambo International Airport, with effect from Sunday 17 November 2019 and customers should report to OR Tambo International Airport as normal.

Departures from SAA’s international stations, including; London, New York, Washington, Munich, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, are expected to operate from Monday, 18 November 2019. The first departure from São Paulo, is expected to operate on Sunday, 17 November 2019.  The first departure from Perth, is expected to operate on Tuesday, 19 November 2019.

SAA has further worked with its sister airline, Mango Airlines, to re-accommodate as many customers as possible travelling on domestic services. This may mean changes in timing and aircraft types, but aims to ensure that SAA’s customers reach their intended destination with minimal disruption.

Customers traveling to destinations in the regional market (points on the African continent) will be re-accommodated on Airlink, a partner airline of SAA, and other airlines where possible. However, it will not be possible to re-accommodate all customers.

“Passengers are advised to follow the commercial policies SAA has put in place, which can be found on  Customers are requested not to travel to their departure airports unless in possession of a rebooked itinerary, as SAA will not be able to provide any assistance,” said Philip Saunders, SAA Chief Commercial Officer.

In order to minimise the impact on customers, SAA is proactively rebooking customers and providing various options. The Call Centre hours have been extended from 6am to midnight, South African time.

As call volumes are very high, we urge customers only to contact SAA in the event they wish to rebook on another airline for immediate travel.

Customers seeking a refund or wishing to rebook their travel on a future SAA service have until 30 November 2019 to finalise their arrangements.

The Call Centre numbers are 0861 606 606 or 011 978 1111. Customers can also visit for the latest information.

Passengers will be assisted as follows:

• Where possible, passengers will be rebooked onto flights operated by any of SAA’s Star Alliance partners or other airlines to travel to their final destination with minimal disruption; and

• Passengers can be rebooked onto another South African Airways flight for any flight on the same routing until 31 October 2020 at no extra charge and subject to availability in the same booking class.

The extension of cancellations is a result of ongoing industrial action by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).


There have been discussions between the parties bringing hope that this dispute can be resolved. The state has used more than $2B to prop up the airline since 2012. Let’s see if they can operate all their international long-haul flights Sunday onwards.