As you know we have received word that our tour carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in financial trouble. We have been following developments over the last month and after meetings with the School Executive and taking all the available factors into consideration we have decided to cancel our reservation with SAA and book Emirates Airlines for our forthcoming St Stephen’s Global tour of South Africa in April.
This was a decision based on all of the available information, in particular, reliable media sources, people we know living in South Africa and our travel agent and industry sources. SAA of course were not a reliable source as they claim ‘business as usual’ as airlines and companies often do, even when on the verge of collapse and bankruptcy. In particular our concerns related to:
- safety issues when we know the airline is in financial trouble and cutting expenditure
- reliability issues with airline cancellations occurring and the possibility of SAA collapsing while our students are on tour in South Africa!
Even though no one can be certain of the future of SAA, after taking everything into account, we have now booked Emirates Airlines – a high quality and reliable carrier. Emirates were the best alternative airline given dates and available seats for such a group. The flights via Dubai will be longer but we take comfort in the airline’s reputation and reliability. There will be no change to the cost of the tour for our families and the tour will occur at approximately the same time (there may be one day adjustment at either end).
We are currently examining the flight times and checking our bookings and itinerary. We will be in touch shortly with specific flight numbers and times and confirmation of the itinerary and activities.
Thank you for your ongoing support for this important tour.
Dr Mark Fielding and the staff tour team