UPDATE: Airlink adds lifeline flights to assist SA Express passengers

2018-06-06 14:37 - Kavitha Pillay
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Following the suspension of SA Express operations on 24 May, local carrier Airlink announced that it has added up to 46 additional flights daily to accommodate customers affected by SA Express flight disruptions.

"Many SA Express customers have experienced itinerary disruption and Airlink has worked around the clock since 24 May to introduce additional flights to alleviate the inconvenience," says the airline a statement. Some of the routes covered by the added flights were initially without a recovery route plan.

SEE: UPDATE: SAA announces extended schedule until May 2019 to sustain SA Express

Airlink's additional flights announcement comes after South African Airways (SAA) released an extended schedule as part of its plans to sustain the SA Express network. SAA says its extended schedule includes replacement capacity for a year with partner airlines - SAA, SA Airlink and Mango Airlines. Click here to see the extended relief schedule.

Airlink's additional flights

Airlink say that its objective "in response to SA Express’ request for assistance" is to minimise disruption to customers by employing flight capacity at the appropriate times.

This required Airlink to understand the demand on all the new routes and match its supply to ensure that flight times are better suited to passengers' requirements.

SEE: What to do when your flight gets cancelled 

"The result is a schedule that has evolved over the past days and is now more aligned with need," says the airline.

"There will be more fine-tuning over the coming days as our knowledge improves, and with every adjustment to the schedule it is possible that some minor inconvenience may follow. Airlink apologises for any disruption caused and assures our customers of our absolute endeavors to ensuring the best possible service delivery in the circumstances," adds Airlink.

With up to 46 additional flights being introduced daily on various city pairs, here are the additional flight details:

  • Johannesburg - Bloemfontein - up to 8 sectors daily.
  • Johannesburg - Kimberley - up to 6 sectors daily.
  • Johannesburg - Hoedspruit - up to 4 sectors daily.
  • Johannesburg - Gaborone - up to 6 sectors daily.
  • Johannesburg - Richards Bay - up to 6 sectors daily.
  • Johannesburg - Walvis Bay - 2 sectors daily.
  • Cape Town - Port Elizabeth - up to 6 sectors daily.
  • Cape Town - Hoedspruit - 2 sectors daily.
  • Cape Town - East London - 2 sectors daily.
  • Durban - East London - up to 4 sectors daily.

For more information, travellers can call 027 11 978 1111 or visit www.flyairlink.com.

SA Express working to lift suspension

SA Express was forced to increased its call centre operations to help deal with the high volume of queries related to flight cancellations across five specific routes following its suspension by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) on Thursday, 24 May. 

The audit coincided with the introduction of a stabilisation programme at the airline, which has undergone significant leadership changes over the last twelve months. The SA Express leadership team, as well as Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Intervention Team, are expected to share the stabilisation plans with the SACAA.

ALSO SEE: ALERT: SACAA grounds SA Express for 'severe non-compliance'

SA Express says it is in the process of working with the SACAA to meet all the necessary approvals in order to lift the suspension.    

Click here for more on what affected passengers can do.