The decision by SAA business rescue practitioner Les Matuson to cut several SAA routes has been met with joy by the airline’s many detractors, anger and sadness by its supporters, and derision by those to whom the cuts make no sense.

I cannot fathom why the Sao Paulo route has been cancelled. We now lose our only daily connection with South America, leaving this lucrative route in the hands of South American carrier Latam, which will relish its newfound monopoly (together with the fare increases a monopoly invariably brings). 

One wonders when Matuson and his colleagues took the decision to include Sao Paulo in the cuts, and whether they took into account how many of Brazil’s largest companies (some of which have billions of dollars in turnover) have business in SA and elsewhere and depended to a great extent on SAA’s daily flights.

What did they take into account that outweighed flights that departed full and often overbooked (even in business class) every day? Then there were the thousands of tourists who flocked to SA from all over South America on SAA. Were they taken into account?

In 2000, when I went to live in Brazil, SAA had two weekly flights to Sao Paulo. By 2005 there were daily flights, and by 2008 there were 11 weekly flights, as a result of increased Brazilian investment in SA and the continent.

Latam’s five weekly flights will hardly be enough to make up for the loss of capacity.

The decision to cut the Sao Paulo route is nonsensical, especially considering that SAA will continue to serve two destinations in North America (New York and Washington), but has severed its only route to South America.

Emile Myburgh 
Via e-mail

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