South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) employees in the coastal city of Durban have been told they will no longer be needed from March 1. This follows power over the airline’s future having been given to Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs), who subsequently named the destination as one of the routes from Johannesburg O.R. Tambo that would shut down at the end of this month, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported.

As previously reported, the troubled carrier announced dramatic cuts to its network earlier this month as it looked to move forward with a restructuring plan. It said it would terminate all domestic destinations except for Cape Town, and as such, flights to Durban King Shaka, currently served 45x weekly, will cease from February 29.

In a recording heard by the newspaper, an airline manager tells workers at the Durban branch that they will be joining the unemployment queue in March because of the BRPs’ decision to close the route.

The recording was made on February 7, the day after the practitioners announced their intentions to restructure the airline to “conserve cash, and create a viable platform for a successful future”.

“In this day and age, where the economy of our country is shrinking, and companies are closing, it is a sad day indeed for all of us,” the manager said, adding that the BRPs had dismissed proposals to move workers to SAA subsidiary Mango Airlines (JE, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) or to other parts of the company.

“They will be cutting Johannesburg as well. Staff members in Johannesburg will be removed because the staff in Jo’burg will be too much for the current schedule that they will be having,” she said. “In Cape Town, they will only be having four flights per day. There are going to be retrenchments in Cape Town as well. [SAA is] not ceasing operations, but there will be drastic reductions of staff members.”

As previously reported, two unions, the National Union of Metalworkers and the South African Cabin Crew Association, have taken the BRPs, Les Matuson and Sizwe Dongwana, to court to put a stop to their plans, which according to the unions’ lawyer includes dismissals of 1,000 employees. They plan to use the recording as evidence in court, according to the Mail & Guardian.