Skywise looks back on 14 days of 'turmoil' | Fin24
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Skywise looks back on 14 days of 'turmoil'

Dec 16 2015 16:31

Cape Town - Grounded airline Skywise has questioned how the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) could refuse to grant it a 48-hour reprieve to pay R2m when the entire South African economy has been thrown into turmoil indirectly through South African Airways' (SAA's) inability to sort out its far bigger financial troubles.

"While the country continues to lose billions to save the national carrier from financial and commercial embarrassment, Skywise's 200 employees asks why Acsa did not give us only 48 hours to pay R2m to be saved from financial and commercial embarrassment," said the airline in a statement on Wednesday.

Acsa suspended Skywise flights on December 2 due to unpaid airport charges for landing, take off, parking of aircraft and related service charges. The airline's appeals for help to President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, Acsa and South African Airways were unsuccessful.

READ: Another blow for Skywise

Skywise pointed out that while the country has been left reeling by the events that transpired since former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was abruptly removed from his position on December 9, the past 14 days have equally been a time of turmoil for the troubled airline.

"Our currency has reached record lows, our banks have lost billions on the JSE and the confidence of investors and ratings agencies has plummeted. This was all due to the shuffling and reshuffling of the minister of finance," said Skywise. It added: "South Africa is speculating that this shuffling has been done to remove obstacles in order to bail out SAA."

Skywise questioned how Acsa could expect the airline to recover its arrears when it was banned in December, in peak holiday season and "the busiest month in domestic aviation".

"Skywise was expecting the high peak season revenue to uplift us into a healthy position," said the airline.

Acsa maintained earlier that its decision to ground Skywise was taken in the best interests and sustainability of its business. "Acsa wishes to state that it is not the only supplier that is owed money by Skywise amongst multiple stakeholders in the airline’s operational value chain," the company pointed out.

"It is regrettable that Acsa’s position on unpaid service fees is being viewed in isolation, despite many stakeholders being instrumental in ensuring an airline’s continued operation."

READ: Skywise debt ripples down value chain - Acsa

Looking back to December 2014, Skywise said it had "a moving and much-anticipated launch" with ticket sales going live after "waiting for over three years of planning to get to this historical moment".
Its plans to celebrate its first anniversary with flight specials and a year-end get together of friends and partners have been dashed by "one of the most frightening things in the domestic aviation history", said Skywise. It added that it was grounded for not paying its arrears, despite the fact that it was "on a fly-as-you-pay arrangement".
Since being grounded, the airline said it has experienced "difficulties, criticism and obstacles".

"While we will keep fighting to overcome those obstacles, we have temporarily stopped operations until further notice," said Skywise.

How to get a refund

Skywise advised passengers looking at refunds to contact its call centre at 0861-911435 and 0861-989895 or email   

acsa  |  skywise  |  aviation  |  airlines


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