SAA Cape Town-London service to end

South African Airways (SAA) is ceasing its daily direct service between Cape Town and London from 15 August, with the flights being rerouted through Johannesburg instead.

The national carrier made the decision to curb losses amid declining passenger numbers to London and increasing airport taxes in the UK. It said that incorporating Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport into the route would enable it to operate "more optimally".

The company's direct Cape Town-London service had been in operation for 20 years.

From 16 August, the company's two daily services between Johannesburg and London will increase their capacity by 13 per cent by using larger aircraft to accommodate Cape Town passengers.

Travellers who have booked flights between Cape Town and London after 15 August will be re-routed at no additional cost, while those who do not wish to travel through Johannesburg will be refunded. The company’s cargo service is also to be channelled through Johannesburg.

SAA said it will divert aircraft from the axed route to its operations in India and west Africa. Last month the carrier made a plea to the South African government for assistance in renewing its fleet.