Passengers stranded after S.Africa airline grounded


JOHANNESBURG — Hundreds of passengers were left stranded on Wednesday after a South African private airline was grounded without warning following cash-flow problems.

Nationwide Airlines grounded its aircraft indefinitely on Tuesday after management said it had failed to secure capital injection into the cash-strapped airline which also serviced international routes to London, Atlanta and Zambia.

“Our cash-flow has become critical and as a result we have decided to voluntarily cease all flight operations until further notice,” said a company statement posted on its website.

The embattled airline blamed its cash-flow woes on the “increase in fuel costs coupled with a decrease in passenger load factors.”

Passengers on both its international and domestic routes were left stranded as the airline offered an apology for “all inconveniences experienced” with no clarity on whether tickets would be refunded.

Nationwide Airlines serviced domestic routes in South Africa’s Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, George, Mpumalanga and Johannesburg.

Last year, the airline was grounded by South Africa’s aviation authorities after an engine in one of its Boeing 737-200 fell off the plane on departure from Cape Town.

The airline resumed operations in January this year but faced operational difficulties in March and April, the company statement said.