Pay up, SAX told as Acsa keeps suspension in place

There are many entities involved in making sure air travel runs smoothly, both from the air and land side of things.

From baggage checking and loading to catering, safety maintenance and fuelling, it's a well-oiled machine - until something goes wrong.

And when it does, it is always seems to be the passenger that is hardest hit. This seems to be the case with the grounding of SA Express by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), since Wednesday, 28 August. 

READ: Passengers vent anger at SA Express as ACSA's withdrawal of services continues 

Airports Company South Africa says it communicated to SA Express on 27 August 2019 that it would not be allowed to depart from any of the company’s nine airports from 10am on Wednesday 28 August 2019 - due to 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. Outstanding passenger service charges, landing and parking fees has forced it to take action against SAX - but Acsa has not disclosed what the amount outstanding is based on "client confidentiality".  

SAX issued a statement earlier on Thursday saying it had met the requirements but that Acsa has "reneged on the agreements reached".

An attempt to resolve the debt issue was undertaken by Acsa, SA Express and representatives of the Department of Transport and Department of Public Enterprises. However Acsa says the airline has not met the required agreements - and the suspension regrettably "remains 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. 

*Compiled by Selene Brophy

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