South Africa Airways (SAA) reinstated flights to seven international destinations yesterday as a crippling wage strike by staff continued.
While some international flights resumed, domestic flights were not operating as the strike entered its third day.
Thousands of workers affiliated to National Union of Mineworkers (Numsa) and South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) downed tools at 4am on Friday.
Passengers were forced to seek alternative flights– -many of which were fully booked in the scramble to get seats.
SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali, said the decision to resume the international flights was made after an assessment of personnel who were available and willing to operate flights.
“Whilst some employees are on strike and have elected to do so in exercising their rights, the airline has a duty to render services to its customers where it has employees who have elected to report for work,” he said.
The seven destinations are New York, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Perth, London, Frankfurt, and Washington. Flights will depart from OR Tambo International Airport.
SAA said earlier that it had approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to conciliate in the salary increment impasse.
Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, said in a statement that the unions were expected to brief workers yesterday about the mediation process with management.
SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders, said passengers deserved a “smooth service” and apologised to customers.— Sowetan newspaper, SA