South Africans no longer flying first and business class

South Africans are no longer flying in first, or business class. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans are no longer flying first and business class, that's according to the South African Airways.

The airline has told Members of Parliament it's operating in a tough economic environment and is now asking Treasury for an extra R2-billion this year for working capital.

The embattled national carrier is trying to clean up its act and cases related to aircraft theft, procurement fraud and questionable deals have been referred to the Hawks.

“What is happening now, these matters that were referred to the Hawks for further investigation were not being attended to,” said SAA Chief Risk and Compliance Officer Vusi Pikoli.

“So we are trying to resuscitate these matters. To ensure that the dockets will find their way to court.

“Currently we have nine matters with the Hawks. We have been able to change the inquires to case dockets, so these matters can be taken to the NPA.”

READ: Solidarity puts SAA court application on hold

The airline is also trying to listen to the needs of passengers. “We have also seen that customer requirements have changed,” said SAA Interim CFO Deon Fredericks.

“We have seen internationally who flew business class, first-class passengers are moving to business, business are moving to prem economy and prem economy to economy. “It’s becoming a very price-sensitive environment.”

While there have been calls to sell the airline, the board says that's not on the cards.

“We have also done an assessment of what it would cost to shut the airline down, and it’s a staggering amount,” said SAA Acting Board Chairperson Akhter Moosa.

“So the board has received a mandate from shareholders that we turn around the entity. Or try our utmost best to turn it around.”