Despite stoic efforts by HP staffers to reorganise flights for delegates to its annual Partner Summit in Fancourt, the company has been forced to postpone the event until early next year.
The Nationwide Airlines fiasco that has rapidly been exposed on news sites throughout the country – first on IT-Online – has probably cost HP tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of rands in lost air fares (no refunds or reissuing from Nationwide), hotel bookings, golf course bookings and various other sundry deposits and costs.
Just after 9:30 this morning, HP's country manager for IPG, Thierry Boulanger, finally admitted defeat in his – and his staff's – valiant efforts to transport partners, customers and Press to George for the weekend event.
A hastily-arranged charter flight had to be cancelled mainly due to the fact that delegates' baggage couldn't be located in time for it.
Boulanger says that Partner Summit will now be rescheduled for early 2008. "We're probably looking at around the February timeframe," he says. "But we'll keep partners informed of all future developments."
There is some good news in all of this, though. "Early bird" delegates such as Mark Perry, Neil Rex and Appie Pema are sure to enjoy uninterrupted, non-pressure golf to their hearts' content.
The bad news? We managed to get a R200 fine on the way back from the airport to file this story!