Airline denies fault for botched Bafana flight arrangement
Safa to make an official complaint after team leaves a day late for Dubai
The blame game over who was at fault for Bafana Bafana leaving a day late for Dubai‚ where the national team will hold a pre-Africa Cup of Nations camp‚ has continued with a response from the airline‚ Emirates.
The SA Football Association (Safa) claimed Bafana arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday believing they would be bound for Dubai on one flight at 7pm‚ only to find some members of the squad would travel on a 10pm flight.
Coach Stuart Baxter was not happy with this arrangement and made another booking for the squad to travel together on Tuesday at 10am‚ staying in Johannesburg for one more night.
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Safa acting CEO Russell Paul has said the association will investigate the matter and lodge an official complaint with Emirates.
The airline‚ though‚ appears to have a rebuttal for Safa’s claim that Emirates only informed Bafana of the arrangement with two flights once the team arrived. Emirates said the arrangement of two flights on Monday night was made by Safa’s booking agent.
In the response via e-mail provided by Clockwork Media‚ the company that handles the public relations for Emirates‚ an unnamed airline spokesperson was quoted as saying: “Emirates is aware of the matter concerning the SA men’s national football team’s flight bookings.
“The team made their travel arrangements with their own booking agent‚ who booked them on different flights due to late confirmation of the bookings and a subsequent limited capacity on the designated flight.”
Earlier‚ Paul said that Bafana had found out about having to use two flights at the airport.
“The airline basically indicated that — and you know how airlines are — they were overbooked‚” Paul said. “We are still trying to investigate it with the airline. Because‚ I mean‚ we had reserved everything‚ it was all done‚ and the squad were there ready to start checking in when we were told.”
Bafana are camping in Dubai‚ where they meet Ghana in a warm-up match on Saturday‚ ahead of the Nations Cup in Egypt. SA open their tournament against Ivory Coast in Cairo on June 24.