For the first time, FIFA accommodation, ticketing and transport booking agency MATCH is getting a taste of its own medicine, with the announcement that SAA has cancelled the 45 000 seats MATCH had booked with this country’s largest airline, reports the Cape Argus.
The airline announcement from Ian Cruikshank, SAA’s 2010 project leader, states that: “SAA and Match couldn’t come to an agreement on the number of seats to be provided, and the terms and conditions relating to this. The airline can no longer offer Match any special conditions for carriage on our aircraft”. SAA had offered the seats at very favourable prices. Cruikshank said SAA could not hold the ever-changing number of seats for MATCH indefinitely.
SAA has announced that the cancelled MATCH seats will now be made available to the public at “affordable and competitive rates”. As the airline has confirmed that the ticket prices will drop, SAA is enhancing its image, having been criticised with the other airlines of “rip-off” pricing and price collusion.
SAA has not excluded any future negotiations with MATCH, and wants to offer MATCH its “technical and operational expertise”, as well as assist with the requirements of leased aircraft, which would fly routes that SAA does not offer, including international destinations which are not linked to South Africa. The two parties are to continue their negotiations.
MATCH already has egg on its face with the vast number of room nights that it has cancelled due to lack of demand for World Cup accommodation. Smaller accommodation establishments in outlying areas appear to be hardest hit by the MATCH cancellations. More accommodation cancellations are likely this month, the last deadline MATCH has to cancel before it has to pay its contracted accommodation suppliers cancellation fees.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com