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Update on Strike By South African Airways Technical

Johannesburg, August 27, 2013

Contingency plans by South African Airways (SAA) and its maintenance subsidiary South African Airways Technical (SAAT) have proven to be effective with minimal disruption. The entities also refute claims by labour union, SATAWU, that its industrial action at SAAT has paralysed operations. SAA operations continue to operate with minimal disruptions, a fact which can be independently verified.

In fact, since operations began this morning at 06:00AM up to 12:00PM, SAA had 31 flight departures out of OR Tambo International Airport of which only one was delayed for 17 minutes as a direct result of the strike.

It is unfortunate that SATAWU continues to propagate exaggerated and unfounded claims. A case in point was yesterday’s delay of a flight between Johannesburg and Beijing which was as a result of the requisite replacement of a faulty component. The said delay and the period it took to attend to the aircraft would have been the same, with or without the industrial action.

SAAT further wishes to renounce the claims by SATAWU that the company has assigned uncertified engineers to work on aircraft. This is utterly deceitful as the company conducts its business in line with international and local regulatory prescripts. SAAT and SAA would under no circumstances deploy its personnel, or any contractor to work on matters that they are unqualified, or uncertified for. The SAA Group of companies puts the safety of customers and crew above anything else.  

SAA Technical met with labour representatives yesterday afternoon and tabled an improved and credible offer. The consensus from the meeting was that the unions would seek a fresh mandate from its members on whether to accept or reject the tabled offer. It is thus regrettable that SATAWU has insinuated that they would revert back to their initial demand of 12%. The SAA Group views this demand as unrealistic, especially given the current gloomy economic situation and the financial challenges that the company is grappling with. Throughout the negotiations, the company has been forthright with labour regarding what the company can afford. To this end SAA expects the unions to understand that the offer placed on the tabled is informed by what the company can afford based on the existing limited resources.

The company is still hopeful that a speedy resolution to the current impasse can be found.  Parties will continue with discussions later this afternoon. The airline and its subsidiary appeal to SATAWU to desist from intimidating those who are not supportive of their industrial action.

The airline urges customers to check their flight status before going to the airport. The SAA Group will continue to keep customers and the public informed about developments around this matter.

- ENDS -

About SAA
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 26 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa and internationally from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.
For more information contact:
SAA Group Corporate Affairs
Tlali Tlali
Executive: Group Corporate Affairs
Tel: +27 11 978 3819
Mobile: +27 82 333 3880

Kabelo Ledwaba
Communication Manager(External)
Tel: +27 11 978 2760
Mobile: +27 83 414 4720

Twitter: @flysaa