Mango forced to suspend flights after missing payments to ACSA

SAA’s low-cost airline, Mango, has been forced to halt all flights after failing to pay Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), the airport regulator. While the company didn’t respond to Bloomberg, an apology tweet was published on the company’s Twitter account (see below), saying Mango is “working on a solution”. The coronavirus lockdown saw all flights grounded for a long time, bad news for many of the already struggling airlines. SAA, which is currently going through business rescue, has been struggling for years now. Comair – which operates Kulula and the SA-arm of British Airways – “was put into a local form of bankruptcy protection in May last year before resuming flights with support from lenders and investors”.  – Jarryd Neves

South Africa’s Mango Airlines halts flights after missing payments

By John Bowker

Bloomberg – Mango Airlines, the low cost arm of state-owned South African Airways, was forced to suspend all flights after missing payments to the country’s airports regulator, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The carrier is barred from taking off or landing at any Airports Company South Africa site, which includes the main hubs in Johannesburg and Cape Town, said the person, who asked not to be named as the move hasn’t been made public.

Mango, which operates mainly in its domestic market, couldn’t be reached for comment by phone or email. The company tweeted an apology to customers for “flight interruptions and delays,” saying it is “working on a solution.”

The grounding is an indication of the deteriorating financial position at Mango. The company has been hit by the coronavirus crisis that’s hammered the airline industry, forcing bailouts and pushing some carriers into insolvency. South Africa’s government temporarily suspended air travel last year to contain the pandemic, starving Mango of revenue.

Mango was to stop operating on May 1, Business Day reported earlier.

SAA itself has been working through a laborious business-rescue process that started in late 2019, and has yet to resume commercial flights after more than a year. The carrier’s recovery has been hampered by South Africa’s isolation from much of the world due to travel bans, which have made it all but impossible to operate a viable large-scale international schedule.

Comair Ltd., one of Mango’s two main domestic rivals, was put into a local form of bankruptcy protection in May last year before resuming flights with support from lenders and investors. The company operates the Kulula brand and is the local partner for IAG SA’s British Airways.

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