New services, deals

By Reuters - Global Times Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2019/11/28 20:23:40

The photo shows Air Tanzania Company Limited, the flag carrier airline of Tanzania receives the Airbus A220-300 at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Dec. 23, 2018. (Xinhua)

South Africa working to sustain SAA

The South African government is working on "immediate actions" to ensure cash-strapped South African Airways' (SAA's) survival, the Ministry of Public Enterprises said on Wednesday, warning that the airline could not "continue as is."

SAA, which hasn't made a profit since 2011 and is dependent on government bailouts to remain solvent, suffered a crippling strike this month which pushed it to the brink of collapse.

The airline needs to secure more than 2 billion rand ($136 million) of working capital to continue operations, but commercial banks won't lend SAA more money without additional state guarantees.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is trying to wean ailing state firms off government support and has not yet granted those guarantees.

The Ministry of Public Enterprises, which oversees SAA, said it was working with SAA to enable it to continue its business. But it said, "SAA cannot continue as is," and that further details would be provided over the next week.

Norwegian Air cuts routes

Budget airline Norwegian Air is ending flights from Copenhagen and Stockholm to the US and Thailand due to weak demand and technical problems affecting the engines on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners, it said on Wednesday.

Flights between Oslo and the US would continue, it said, while routes between Norway and Thailand were under review as part of its latest initiative to cut costs and restore profits after rapid expansion left the carrier weighed down by debt.

"Scandinavia isn't big enough to maintain intercontinental flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen," Matthew Wood, senior vice president for commercial operations, said in a statement.

Norwegian has shaken up the transatlantic travel market with low fares, challenging major transatlantic carriers such as British Airways. But its profitability has suffered.

To stem losses, Norwegian has cut unprofitable routes, saying last month that it would reduce capacity by 10 percent next year, the first plan to shrink in its near two-decade history.

Norwegian plans to use the extra cash to help cover costs resulting from the grounding of its short-haul fleet of Boeing MAX aircraft and issues with engines on its long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Tunisia's state airline to axe 400 jobs

Tunisair plans to lay off 400 of its full-time employees in 2020 as part of plans to ease financial difficulties at the state-owned Tunisian airline, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The national carrier's squeezed finances have led to flight delays, declining services and the grounding of aircraft due to a lack of spare parts.

Tunisair has a fleet of 27 aircraft and 8,000 employees, which the government has failed to trim in the face of resistance from labor unions.

"As part of a structural reform program, 400 employees will be laid off in 2020 in an effort to reduce the company's high wage mass and ease its financial difficulties," said CEO Elyess Mankabi.

The plan was approved by the government, he added.

The company has been suffering losses since the ousting of Tunisia's autocrat President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and faces increased competition as the country negotiates an Open Skies agreement with the European Union.

As part of broader reforms, Tunisia is seeking to curb losses incurred by large state-owned companies, which amounted to about $2 billion in 2018.


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