SAA suspends all flights


South African Airways (SAA) will suspend all domestic flights from Friday, 27 March.

“The decision came after government announced a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days aimed at combatting the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” it said in a statement.

The decision follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown coming into effect from midnight on Thursday.

The national carrier supports the national effort to contain, manage and disrupt the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

The suspension of all domestic flights follows an earlier announcement to suspend international and regional flights in light of the coronavirus.

“All these flights remain suspended until 31 May 2020,” it said.

Arrangements prior to the lockdown

In the period leading up to the lockdown (24-26 March 2020), the airline will provide support to passengers who intend to change their travel plans and commence journeys before lockdown implementation.

“SAA is committed to the interests of its customers and will assist customers whose itinerary must change. There will be one free travel change for travel between Tuesday, 24 March and Thursday, 26 March 2020,” it said adding re-accommodation will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

Arrangements during the lockdown

The airline’s call centres will not be operational for the duration of the lockdown, scheduled to end at midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020.

Customers will be able to direct enquiries through these following channels:

Customer Solutions: [email protected]

  • COVID-19 enquiries on SAA policy
  • COVID-19 enquiries on Travel Bans
  • General enquiries relating to SAA business continuity

Reservations JNB: [email protected]

  • Revenue Tickets
  • Changes to existing bookings, for future travel
  • New bookings

Voyager Service Recovery: [email protected]

  • Voyager Blue, Silver and Gold members
  • Changes to existing bookings, for future travel
  • New bookings
  • PIN Reset
  • Voyager Platinum members would continue to be supported via the dedicated email channel


Resumption of flights

SAA has put measures in place to assist customers after the lockdown.

“SAA will resume domestic flights on 17 April 2020,” it said.

It added all passengers willing to defer travel will be expected to comply with conditions in the updated customer reservation policy.

“Customers are advised the updated policy applies across SAA’s route network, including domestic, regional and international flights.”

The policy provides for changes for a period that extends beyond the industry norm (where ordinarily tickets are valid for six months for domestic travel and 12 months for international travel) which is up until 2022.

Below is a summary:

  • The policy applies to tickets issued on/before 24 March 2020 and new tickets issued up to 31 August 2020.
  • Customers holding a 083 ticket for flights operated by SAA will be offered a refund in the form of a credit for future travel.
  • Customers holding a 083 ticket for flights marketed by South African Airways in the flight range 7000-7999 and Mango codeshare flights will also qualify for the credit.
  • The value of the credit will equal the value of the unused sectors (coupons).
  • The original ticket rules will be waived.
  • The credit must be used between 24 March 2020 to 24 March 2022.
  • The credit can be used to purchase another ticket of the same/lower value or as part payment for a ticket with a higher value.
  • Any additional amount to be collected (i.e. fares, taxes and surcharges) will be for the passenger’s account.
  • Change of routing will be permitted.
  • This travel advisory waives the 72-hour rule

The full policy is available at

Customers can call the airline’s call centre on +27 (0)11 978-1111 or 0861 606 606 or 0800 214 774 (South Africa only) or +27 (0)11 978-2888.

The national carrier apologised for inconvenience by suspension of its flights.

“We trust customers and stakeholders will appreciate these decisions are meant for the national benefit,” it said.