Mango Airlines, the low-cost arm of state-owned SAA, was forced to suspend all flights after missing payments to the country’s airports regulator.
The carrier’s senior management is in “emergency discussions” with government to find a solution, Mango tweeted on Wednesday.
The company owes an unspecified amount to Airports Company SA (Acsa), which owns and manages the country’s airports.
Acsa couldn’t immediately offer comment.
The grounding is an indication of the deteriorating financial position at Mango, which was hit by the Covid-19 crisis that has hammered the airline industry worldwide.
South Africa temporarily suspended air travel last year to contain the pandemic, starving Mango and other airlines of revenue.
Mango was considering a halt to operations from yesterday to go into business rescue while awaiting government funding, 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, one of Mango’s two main domestic rivals, was put into a 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 International Airlines Group’s British Airways. – Bloomberg