The entire fleet of South Africa's state-owned low-cost carrier Mango Airlines (JE, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) remained grounded on September 27, 2020, after sister firm South African Airways Technical (SAAT) withdrew its maintenance services due to outstanding payments, the airline's management confirmed.

Operations Manager Sybrand Strachan confirmed to ch-aviation that Mango's flights were being operated by Johannesburg-based Global Aviation Operations (GE, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) as per schedule. The airline was hopeful that a resolution would be found in ongoing talks with SAAT. Global Aviation's Commercial Manager Lizané Albers confirmed the company would be operating flights for Mango throughout the weekend, but declined to comment further because of a confidentiality agreement with Mango.

"Critical discussions with Mango and SAAT are still continuing today and we are hopeful of a resolution. Updates will be made available as soon as possible," said Mango spokesperson, Benediction Zubane. "Mango continues to operate as per schedule under these challenging times and all customers are urged to check Mango's website for any changes to their flight status. We remain resolute to flying all passengers to their respective destinations as planned, and especially over the weekend," he said.

Meanwhile, SAAT has also withdrawn its maintenance services to South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) because of outstanding payments for past work, spokesperson Tlali Tlali told broadcaster ENCA. "The situation is undesirable, and we hope that as the parties are able to meet around the table, they should be able to find a middle path out of the entire situation. SAAT is pursuing its own commercial interests and has the responsibility to ensure that its customers are able to pay for services rendered."

SAA, in business rescue since December 2019, is awaiting government funding, with its administrators last week warning the company had run out of short-term cash to pay for operating expenses. "There are a series of critical meetings taking place this weekend to find a resolution to this situation because it has implications operationally," Tlali said. He added that while SAA was not operating commercial flights, it was conducting repatriation and charter flights. Some charters scheduled for next week could be affected if SAAT did not restore its services, he added.

While South African Airways Group subsidiaries Mango and SAAT are not in business rescue, they do each require at least ZAR1 billion rand (USD58.3 million) in recapitalisation.