Wednesday, October 06, 2010

An interesting... SAA drops its Cape Town to Durban route

Image from

SAA has anounced that it will no longer be operating its Durban-Cape Town route anymore and will use Mango, its low-cost carrier, to service it instead.

Twitter has already gone mad about it today, as has the comment section beneath the article I linked to above. People find it odd (some find it offensive) that the national carrier won't be flying between the 2nd richest city in the country (Durban) and the third richest (Cape Town) anymore, but there is a case to be made for SAA making this decision.

Firstly, as stated in the article, most of the traffic between the two cities is holiday traffic. Something one will notice, on occassion, is that many holiday destination to holiday destination flight routes fail. If there is not enough business traffic to maintain the commercial viability of a flight route then it has to be pulled. Does anyone remember the failed venture of having flights between Cape Town and Miami? No business travel = fail. Business travel is undeniably important, particularly for a full-service airline (as opposed to low-cost - SAA and BA are full-service airlines, Kulula, 1Time and Mango are low-cost airlines) and it's why JNB-CPT and JNB-DUR are two of the busiest flight routes in the world.

Secondly, we often complain about the excessive wastage of money spent by parastatals. This was a difficult decision made by SAA to concentrate on its more-money-making routes throughout Africa. For the first time I can think of off the top of my head, taxpayers are complaining about a parastatal wasting LESS of their money. We can't just have a flight route because we sommer want one. If, according to the capitalist principles espoused by the readers of the site I linked to above, there is a viable business route between Cape Town and Durban, someone will step in and fill it.

Thirdly, there are four other airlines from which to choose, and if you are a businessman who MUST sit in the snooty part of an aeroplane, then fly British Airways. It's really not that much harder to type in rather than and it's a tiny bit more expensive, but you're expensing it anyway.


Roxy said...

I'd also like to know how many of the complainants actually choose SAA when flying between Durban and CT?
Well said Simon, I agree completely.

Simon said...


There was a huge stink in the UK when BA stopped flying from Manchester to New York and the exact same principles apply. People got over it in about three seconds when they realised they could fly with Continental and Delta on that route.

Exactly, does anyone fly SAA on that route? I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be pulling it if it was full.

Roxy said...

Exactly. I'm quite please to see SAA making some strategic decisions finally!