It all depends. I'm in the travel industry. If a client (usually Government) asks for SAA, this is what they will get. I won't offer it in a hurry unless I know the client and know that they don't like to travel on other airlines (usually this is to do with loyalty points such as Voyager Miles or similar or just brand loyalty). Personally, I won't travel on the airline. Even when I worked for them, I only travelled once.
SA Airlink is a privately owned airline that uses the SAA branding, flight numbers, shared call centre, ticketing prefix, etc. because it's a franchise agreement. As of June 2020, they are dropping all association with SAA. Currently, their flight numbers start with SA. After June, their flight numbers will start with 4Z.
Just returned from a flight to P.E. to attend a funeral. Checked prices at all the airline kiosks... settled on Airlink . No prizes for guessing who the most expensive offering was.... SAA at around 45% more!
Let's be frank and honest here. If companies like TIC stop covering tickets issued by South African Airways against insolvency, then why should anyone in their right mind buy a ticket weeks into the future. SAA has already started to cancel and withdraw certain routes to cut costs. We have no way of knowing which route will be next.
Nope, nope, and nope. Company books 40 -60 domestic business flights daily, only using Airlink, Kulula, and FlySafair. Mango and SAA are just too big a risk of implosion. We never used SAA for international because they are always 40% - 60% more expensive than everybody else!