19 July 2012
South African Airways sells valuable Heathrow slot
Some African tourism commentators have expressed suprise that South African Airways (SAA) has sold one of its three exclusive daily landing time slots at London Heathrow without offering it to another African based carrier.However in a statement received this week from SAA it appears that did indeed try to rent out the slot with preference given to African carriers but this avenue was unsuccessful. As a result SAA publicly offered the slot for sale and a sale has been agreed.
The announcement follows SAA's permanent cancellation of its direct Cape Town to London flight on August 15. South Africa lies now 27th (down from 20) in the number of passengers flying from Heathrow, aproximately 840,000 in 2011, but numbers have been falling at around 5 % per annum over the last few years
Slots at London Heathrow are operated on a use it or lose it basis; and the rights to use the arrival and departure slots are based on rights granted due to historic operations. Slots are not transferable between carriers and can either be leased, sold or will be lost if at least 80% of flights are not operated within a set schedule period,.