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SAA comes under fire for baggage wrapping service
Thursday, 13 February 2014
SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe has admitted the airline charged passengers for a bag wrapping service before the service was implemented.

Speaking to John Robbie on 702 on Thursday, Monwabisi said the airline implemented an air fare increase in November last year. According to him, the fare adjustment was calculated using an algorithm that included supply and demand, competitor behaviour and changes in operating costs, which included the baggage service.

Monwabisi was responding to a report by City Press , that the airline had been charging passengers for a bag-wrapping service that was only introduced last month.

According to the report, the service was introduced as part of a three month trial, where SAA is paying Bagport South Africa R30 a bag. The figures are based on correspondence between SAA and Bagport. An internal email also suggested SAA has been charging R60 for domestic passengers and R100 for international passengers.

Monwabisi disputed these figures. “If you go directly to the company that provides these services, they charge you R60 per bag. In our case, we charge R50 per passenger,” Monwabisi said.

SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali, told Tourism Update the trial was introduced to address the pilferage and damage to baggage, which inconvenienced passengers and caused “considerable financial loss and reputational damage to the airline”.

According to Tlali it is not mandatory for passengers to have their baggage wrapped. “In the same way that passengers can decline meals offered on board, they can decline the wrapping service,” he said.

The airline has come under criticism for introducing the mandatory service and also for entering an agreement with Bagport without putting a contract out to tender, an issue Monwabisi confirmed on air.

Unathi Batyashe-Fillis, Acsa Spokesperson, confirmed that Acsa was aware of the trial. “According to Acsa explicit guidelines are in place, which stipulate that baggage wrapping should be provided independently from airlines to passengers who opt to use the service,” she said.

Asked whether Acsa was considering legal action against SAA because a tender was not put out for the service, Unathi said: “We are considering all options, as from an airport operator perspective, we want to ensure that the common use area at the airport is utilised to the benefit of all stakeholders and within the agreed management rules to maximise the efficiency of all services offered within the terminal building.”
By : etnw
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