South African Airways has announced plans to suspend flights towards Malwai.
Rising Concerns Cause Suspension
The South African carrier has cited the ongoing economic crisis as a catalyst for forcing them to suspend service.
The carrier will remove the route from its network by the end of November as the adjustment is made to its operations.
Labelled as a risk management intervention, the rising fuel shortages, inflated food prices, and a shortage of foreign exchange have all been listed as key reasons behind the decision.
South African Airways served Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi. However, these locations will now be removed from the network.
The airline’s CEO, however, has made it known that removing routes to Malwai shouldn’t be perceived as a step back in the commitment to the region.
The South African carrier, however, believes the removal is a crucial step in ensuring they can remain sustainable.
SAA has experienced substantial struggles and is a much lighter and smaller airline than it used to be. As a result and following a rebuild, the airline must commit to sustainable routes and reap their financial rewards.
A suspension of service isn’t intended to be permanent at this stage. The airline notes that it’s more than open to resuming flights. However, the situation needs to improve to see them financially benefit from stably running routine services.
Analysing The Routes To Malawi
South African Airways for October 2023 had eight flights operating connecting Johannesburg with Lilongwe and Blantyre.
This represented an increase over 2022 flights for the same period where the airline offered 0 total services.
Now, it’ll scale back operations from the end of November with no timeline for an eventual return.
The South African Airways Fleet
Per Cirium data, South African Airways flies a fleet of 10 aircraft in-service and seven in storage.
This is ultimately a significant drop from what South African Airways previously flew. However, following its restructure, it has emerged far more nimble.
Several of its currently in-service aircraft average an age of over 20 years or close to it. However, its youngest fleet types are the A330-300, 737-80 and A320-200, which all sit under ten years of average age.