Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) says SA Express (SAX) has been allowed to use its airports again, after a partial payment in lieu of unpaid passenger service charges, landing and parking fees was made.
“SA Express has now made a partial payment towards settling its debt to Airports Company South Africa with the balance expected on Monday,” Acsa said in a statement on Friday.
The airline confirmed in a statement it had resumed operations by midday on Friday.
“The first flight took off at 14h40 for Lubumbashi followed by flight to Bloemfontein at 15:00.
“The SA Express staff at the airports will continue to offer assistance to our passengers. SA Express apologises and regrets the inconvenience that this has caused to all its passengers.”
SAX was barred from using the nine Acsa run airports on Wednesday, 28 August, due to mounting debt that Acsa said it could not allow any longer.
On Thursday evening Acsa stated it communicated to SAX on 27 August 2019 that it would not be allowed to depart from any of the company’s airports from 10am on Wednesday 28 August 2019 – due to the outstanding debt.
“SA Express was informed that the suspension will remain in place until all outstanding amounts are settled. Airports Company South Africa remains a well-run and profitable state-owned company that follows the relevant legislation and regulation, adheres to good governance and applies its policies. Key among these policies is management of debtors.”
Both are state-owned companies with Acsa saying it cannot treat SAX any differently than it would another airline in this matter. SAX previously issued a statement on Thursday saying it had met the requirements but that Acsa has “reneged on the agreements reached”.
A previous attempt to resolve the debt issue was undertaken by Acsa, SAX and representatives of the Department of Transport and Department of Public Enterprises. However Acsa at the time stated the airline has not met the required agreements – and the suspension regrettably remained in place.
“The suspension of an airline takes place only after considerable engagement and discussion with the airline’s executives and management. In the interests of sustaining our commercial viability we have to closely manage our debt tolerance which has been breached by SA Express over time,” says Acsa.