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Law allows for stranded passengers to be repatriated

by Edwin Tshivhidzo
on 30 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Nationwide passengers in foreign countries and foreigners in South Africa who have already bought tickets before the airliner announced closure of operations could be repatriated.

Department of Transport spokesperson Collen Msibi told BuaNews on Wednesday that the law provided assistance for such people.

"The law provides that such people be repatriated," he said.

The Nationwide Airline on Tuesday announced that it had voluntarily ceased all its flight operations until further notice.

In a statement, the airline cited among other things cash-flow as one of the reasons to cease its operations.

"Our cash-flow has become critical and as a result we have decided to voluntarily cease all flight operations until further notice.

"We apologise to our loyal customers for any and all inconveniences experienced," it said.

Mr Msibi said the department was still gathering information about the exact cause of closure.

"We are still trying to get hold of the Nationwide management to get full details of the ceasure," he said.

The airline had in the past months experienced problems when one of their Boeing 737-200 aircraft lost its engine.

Subsequent to this a protracted grounding of the entire fleet was mandated by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (ACSA).

In December last year and January this year the airliner resumed operations and attained a gradual recovery of business, however in the months of March and April faced a 30 percent increase in fuel costs coupled with a decrease in passenger load factors.

Earlier this year, the airliner said there will be no further retrenchments other than the 29 employees retrenched last year.

About 29 employees out of 12 000 were given retrenchment letters last year.

ACSA spokesperson Solomon Mokgatle told BuaNews that they have deployed customer relations teams at all Nationwide counters to assist stranded passengers with alternative arrangements.

Nationwide operated international flights to London and Zambia, and domestic flights to and from Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, George, Mpumalanga and Johannesburg. - BuaNews

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