South African Airways acting CEO Zukisa Ramasia told reporters on Sunday evening that the national carrier would never jeopardise the safety of its passengers or staff, after striking unions claimed flying with the airline on that evening would be a safety risk.
National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association urged South Africans not to fly with South African Airways on Sunday afternoon, following the national carrier's announcement that international flights would be reinstated.
At the briefing Ramasia said an SAA flight from OR Tambo International Airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil was en route and that security would be available to ensure safe operations for passengers and working staff.
Ramasia urged the unions to retract the statements about safety at SAA's operations being compromised. She reminded reporters that pilots were on duty and called for an end to intimidation of working staff.
NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, during a briefing held at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday afternoon warned that learners in the technical support environment were being used to give SAA capacity to operate flights while the strike continues.
NUMSA chair at SAA Technical, Areheng Ndlovu, said aircraft must not be allowed to fly an aircraft without the sign-off of a technician like him.