Emirates responds to Safa's accusation that airline botched Bafana's flight plans

Emirates’ ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 themed Airbus A380 pictured at O.R. Tambo International Airport on Tuesday May 28 2019.
Emirates’ ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 themed Airbus A380 pictured at O.R. Tambo International Airport on Tuesday May 28 2019.
Image: Chris Preyser

The blame game on who was at fault on Bafana Bafana leaving a day late for Dubai‚ where the national team will hold a pre-Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) camp‚ has continued with a response from the airline‚ Emirates.

The SA Football Association (Safa) have claimed that Bafana arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday afternoon believing they would be bound for Dubai on one flight at 7pm‚ only to find some members of the squad would travel on a 10pm flight.

Coach Stuart Baxter was not happy with this arrangement and made another booking for the squad to travel together on Tuesday morning at 10am‚ overnighting in Johannesburg for one more night.

Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul has said the association will investigate the matter and lodge an official complaint with Emirates.

The airline‚ though‚ have appeared to refute Safa’s claim that Emirates only informed Bafana of the arrangement with two flights once the team arrived.

In a response to TimesLIVE‚ Emirates said that the arrangement of two flights on Monday night was made by Safa’s booking agent.

In the response via email provided by Clockwork Media‚ the company that handles the public relations for Emirates‚ an unnamed airline spokesperson was quoted as saying: “Emirates is aware of the matter concerning the South African men’s national football team’s (Bafana Bafana) flight bookings.

“The team made their travel arrangements with their own booking agent‚ who booked them on different flights due to late confirmation of the bookings and a subsequent limited capacity on the designated flight.”

Earlier‚ Paul had said that Bafana had found out about having to use two flights at the airport.

“The airline basically indicated that – and you know how airlines are – they were overbooked‚” Paul said.

“We are still trying to investigate it with the airline. Because‚ I mean‚ we had reserved everything‚ it was all done‚ and the squad were there ready to start checking in when we were told.”

Bafana are camping in Dubai‚ where they meet Ghana in a friendly warm-up match on Saturday‚ ahead of the Afcon finals in Egypt.

South Africa open their tournament against Ivory Coast in Cairo on June 24.

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