updated 7/23/2005 10:11:27 AM ET 2005-07-23T14:11:27

South African Airways canceled all regional and international flights until further notice Saturday after ground and cabin staff went on strike over a pay dispute.

Most domestic flights have also been canceled since the strike began on Friday, causing chaos at airports around the country.

SAA said in a statement that it was able to reroute a number of customers on other airlines, but appealed to passengers to postpone traveling with the national carrier until normal operations resume.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and the United Association of South Africa called the strike to press demands for an 8 percent pay increase. The airline says it cannot afford more than 5 percent because of rising fuel costs.

SATAWU General Secretary Randall Howard said the unions hoped to meet with airline management later Saturday, but airline officials have said they won't resume talks until the strike is suspended.

"They can't keep sitting on their arrogant high horses," Howard told The South African Press Association. "It is in the public interest for them to talk. We have to start today."

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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