Picture: REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Picture: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Low-cost airline Mango has reached an agreement with its maintenance company, allowing it to resume normal operations after nearly a week of negotiations.

Mango, a subsidiary of bankrupt state-owned airline SAA, which is in business rescue, was threatened with the grounding of all its flights on Saturday, reportedly due to the non-payment by its parent company to its maintenance subsidiary SAA Technical (SAAT).

Mango said in a statement on Friday, “Finally an agreement has been reached with SAAT to continue maintaining, servicing and providing daily pre-flight checks on Mango aircraft as per usual.

“Mango is doing all within its power to restore operations to [an] acceptable level.”

All aircraft have to be pre-checked before take-off and if this cannot be done the airline has to ground itself for safety reasons according to the country’s civil aviation regulations.

The SA Civil Aviation Authority said that regulations do not allow for an airline to operate a plane if it is not in a fit-to-fly condition, meaning if it is not properly maintained.

SAAT suffered a cash crunch due to the Covid-19 lockdown when airlines globally were not flying and were therefore in no need of maintenance services.

Added to this was the notification by SAA in late September that it could not pay its debt to SAAT.

SAAT informed its 2,300 employees that it would cut their salaries by 25%. About 200 employees of SAAT marched on the company’s head office on Monday after learning that a decision had been taken to cut wages.

SAAT also demanded outstanding payments from other airlines that it services.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

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