South African Airways (SAA) on Thursday announced the suspension of all services between Johannesburg and Hong Kong from November 23 until December 14.
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 airline said in a statement.
The national flag carrier made the announcement as a disruptive strike entered its seventh day, seriously affecting the airline’s operations.
Due to the strike, SAA suspended all international flights on Friday but reinstated them on Sunday. These included the flight between Johannesburg and 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,” said SAA’s Chief Commercial Officer Philip Saunders.
By suspending these flights, SAA can concentrate on resuming more regional services at the earliest opportunity and make better use of all its resources, said Saunders.
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, the airline said.
At present, the airline operates four flights 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, according to figures cited by SAA.