South African Airways‘ collapse sparks search for new flag carrier

Published: 5 May 2020 - 5 a.m.
By: Aviation Business

South Africa’s government wants a new national airline to replace South African Airways (SAA), which is on the verge of being placed into liquidation by administrators.

Ministers want the new flag carrier to be part state owned and part privately owned and want it to be a profitable business, according to a statement from the department of public enterprises.

SAA was taken over by administrators in December in a rescue bid to turn the airline around after consecutive years of loss making.

Last month the airline announced it would lay off its entire workforce and begin liquidation process after the government refused a bailout package.

A governemnt statement describing a meeting on the future of SAA said that there "was consensus that the unions would work with the government to ensure that a new financially viable and competitive airline emerges from the business rescue process”.

“The unions agreed that in arriving at a solution for SAA, some jobs will be lost, and that employees that remain behind will need to sacrifice some of the unaffordable arrangements that had worsened the airline’s financial position,” the statement said.

It added: “The unions reiterated that people who were instrumental in the damage caused on the airline through corruption and mismanagement should be held to account.“

Meanwhile, SA Express, part of the wider SAA group, has been placed into provisional liquidation, while low-cost operator Comair is reported to be selling assets.

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