JOHANNESBURG: South African Airways told customers on Friday they would no long be able to fly directly from Johannesburg to Sydney, after Australia's Qantas cancelled a nearly 14-year-old code sharing agreement.
The South Africa state-owned carrier said it had no immediate plans to restart its own direct service, which operated for 27 years before the code-sharing agreement, and said customers would now have to travel via Perth.
"Although we no longer operate flights ourselves to Sydney, we will maintain our presence in the country through our own operations to Perth and all of our established partnerships," said SAA commercial manager Kendy Phohleli.
South Africa and Australia share close cultural, sporting and historic ties.
The also share a common problem of struggling flag carrying airlines.
The loss-making South African carrier is expected to apply for yet another government bail out any day amid howls of protest from critics calling for privatisation.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out a taxpayer bailout of privately-owned Qantas, but flagged support for lifting foreign ownership restrictions on the airline.
Current legislation limits foreign ownership of Qantas to 49 percent. (AFP)