Mango Airlines (JE, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has suspended all its services and flights from today, July 27, 2021, until further notice due to outstanding payments to South Africa's Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) company, confirms Acting Chief Executive Officer William Ndlovu.

"Senior management and our shareholder are locked-in in emergency discussions to find an amicable solution to this impasse," he said in a statement.
"We plan to resume normal operations as soon as possible. We ask for calm and patience as we navigate through these challenges. We will update the public as soon as possible," he added.

This comes as three unions representing Mango Airlines on Monday (July 26) applied to the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for the airline to be placed into business rescue. The application will be heard on August 3, 2021. The founding affidavit by the Mango Pilots Association (MPA), South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA), and the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA) revealed that business rescue had been proposed by the Mango board as early as June 2020. The application also follows a pending application from May 2021 by aircraft lessor Aergen, in which they sought to have Mango liquidated. The application was postponed on Mango's request to August to allow the airline to prepare for bankruptcy protection.

Mango parent South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) on Monday evening issued a statement confirming revelations earlier in the day by its chief executive Thomas Kgokolo that Mango Airlines would go into business rescue (a local form of bankruptcy protection) following a decision between its board and the shareholder representative, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). He said the matter was receiving top priority with "intense consultations underway with all key stakeholders".

Mango's 750 employees have not been paid for at least two months despite the airline having maintained limited operations. The company is ZAR2.5 billion rands (USD168.3 million) in debt, of which employees are owed ZAR157 million (USD10.5 million).

The airline was left in limbo when SAA went into business rescue in December 2019. It is still awaiting the pay-out of ZAR819 million rands (USD57.3 million) of state aid allocated to it from ZAR2.7 billion (USD180 million) diverted to SAA's subsidiaries from ZAR10.5 billion (USD702.5 million) set aside for the business rescue of SAA.