Mango passengers were left stranded on Wednesday after the budget airline was grounded due to outstanding payments to the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA).
The grounding followed a report from BusinessDay last week which said that a delay in funding from government would result in the airline stopping operations from 1 May and entering business rescue.
Earlier this week, travel agencies also issued warnings that flights might not go forward as scheduled.
In a notice on its website, Travelstart said flights departing until 30 April would continue to operate as scheduled, but it indicated there was uncertainty about flights thereafter.
As of Wednesday, however, passengers booked on Mango flights were already left stranded at OR Tambo Airport.
Some of the passengers told Maroela Media they were left hanging after being met with empty counters and no Mango employees to assist with checking in.
The passengers claimed they had received no communication from Mango about the cancellation of flights.
One said his travel agency had confirmed the flight with Mango yesterday but he was forced to pay R2,100 for a one-way ticket from Johannesburg to Cape Town after his flight was cancelled.
Mango has confirmed that its services and all flights were temporarily suspended for Wednesday only, due to outstanding payments to ACSA.
“Senior management and our shareholder are locked in emergency discussions to find an amicable solution to this impasse,” the airline said.
It urged affected passengers to contact its call centre on 086 100 1234 to deal with today’s cancellation specifically, but warned that they should expect longer than the ordinary waiting times for calls to be cleared.
“Outbound direct messages via calls, emails, SMS, social media, etc, are also being sent to affected customers,” it added.
The tweets below from journalists Kopano Gumbi and Heidi Giokos show stranded Mango passengers waiting for updates on their flights at OR Tambo Airport.
— Kopano Gumbi (@KopanoGumbi) April 28, 2021
Long queues and stranded passengers at #Mango terminals at OR Tambo International Airport. We’ve spoken to a few passengers who say they got to the airport to find they couldn’t get onto their flight. Passengers says no communication from Mango expect to a 📞 a number for help. pic.twitter.com/m4qc0KtpqJ
— Heidi Giokos (@HeidiGiokos) April 28, 2021