The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) have warned South Africans not to fly SAA because of safety concerns.
NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the ongoing strike means that learner pilots without the necessary experience are used to fly aircraft.
SAA announced earlier today that it is planning to restore some of its flights, but according to Hlubi-Majola this puts passengers at risk.
“We are warning passengers not to fly SAA because their safety cannot be guaranteed,” said Hlubi-Majola at a press briefing.
“Our members who are safety officers and technicians are on strike. Learners with no experience and temporary technicians are being deployed to fly SAA aircraft and act as safety officers,” she said.
“The temporary technicians with no work experience are being used to work on aircraft without having the relevant experience in maintenance and repair.”
SAA to reinstate international flights
SAA said earlier today that it will reinstate international flights to seven international destinations from Sunday night.
It advised passengers to report to their departure airport as normal when in possession of a rebooked itinerary.
SAA took a decision to reinstate international services on its route network after assessment of its personnel numbers who are available and willing to operate the flights.
“Whilst some employees are on strike and have elected to do so in exercising their rights, the airline has a duty to render services to its customers,” SAA said.
The seven destinations are New York, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Perth, London, Frankfurt, and Washington. Flights will depart from OR Tambo International Airport.
SAA has been working with its sister airline, Mango, to re-accommodate as many customers as possible travelling on domestic services.