South Africa’s Mango Airlines Continues To Fly

Despite high levels of uncertainty amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, South African low-cost carrier Mango Airlines has confirmed that it plans to keep flying. It had previously appeared that the SAA subsidiary was going to ground its aircraft this weekend. However, a statement published yesterday by the airline has confirmed otherwise.

Mango Boeing 737
One of Mango’s 11 Boeing 737s. Just four are presently active. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Mango to carry on flying

Johannesburg O. R. Tambo-based budget airline Mango announced yesterday afternoon that it would continue to operate almost a full schedule going forward from today, May 1st. The only one of its routes to remain suspended serves Zanzibar, Tanzania. The carrier confirmed on its website in full that:

“We are excited to inform you that despite a lot of speculation and uncertainty during this past week, Mango Airlines continues to operate as normal tomorrow, Saturday 1 May 2021 and beyond, except for Zanzibar at this stage. We will update the public sometime next week on this route. Please continue to check our website as sales would be opened soon.”

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Mango Boeing 737
For now, only Mango’s services to Zanzibar remain suspended. Photo: NJR ZA via Wikimedia Commons

Previously set to ground its fleet

You would probably expect the airline’s resumption of services to have been welcomed as good news. However, many passengers took to Twitter to express their frustration at the situation. This is because many had already paid to rebook flights on other carriers following the news in April that Mango was set to ground its fleet on May 1st.

The reason for the potential grounding was the debts that Mango owed to the aircraft leasing companies that provide its aircraft. According to Planespotters.net, Mango’s fleet consists of 11 Boeing 737-800s, of which just four are presently active. Its financial difficulties had been worsened by defaulting on loans for more than six months.

Mango Boeing 737
Mango’s debts looked set to force the airline to suspend its flight. Photo: G B_NZ via Flickr

Employees bearing the brunt of the crisis

If Mango is able to continue operating its services as planned, this May will likely be a much happier one than last year. Indeed, May 2020 was when the challenging climate forced the carrier to cut the salaries of its employees by 50%. As if this was not enough of a burden for the airline’s workers, it emerged that the cuts were confirmed first to the media before the employees themselves were made aware.

The South African airline industry as a whole has been one that seems to have suffered disproportionately amid the COVID-19 crisis. This had been highlighted by the struggles of its flag carrier, South African Airways. That being said, SAA had already been struggling financially before the onset of coronavirus. In any case, Mango’s parent company will be hoping that brighter days are ahead, having finally left bankruptcy protection yesterday.

What do you make of Mango’s plans to continue operations as normal despite the present uncertainty? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.



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