SAA seat capacity loss threatens Johannesburg hub status
Johannesburg is at threat of losing its hub status due to the fact that SAA has lost more than 13% of its international seat capacity between March and September this year.
This was the warning by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) COO, Fundi Sithebe, during a panel discussion during the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Africa Leaders Forum in Stellenbosch.
Data presented earlier by Olivier Ponti, Vice President Insights at ForwardKeys (a global travel analytics company) showed that SAA’s capacity had decreased drastically, but that other airlines had taken up the slack.
However, Sithebe said SAA’s capacity cuts were diminishing the role of Johannesburg as a hub because the key driver of a hub was its dominant carrier. She said SAA accounted for 46% of passenger numbers at OR Tambo International Airport. “The threat is real that East and West Africa will take over from Johannesburg as a hub. We really need to entice passenger (growth) policies with a dominant airline at Johannesburg,” she said. Cash-strapped SAA has been scaling back on unprofitable routes to save costs until such time that they can compete in those markets again. Asked to clarify the statistics, Ponti said all he could see in the data was a decrease in SAA’s capacities. “Where this exactly comes from is a matter of interpretation.”
Source : TAM