Plans to get SAA flying again at an advanced stage: Masualle

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There’s still no specific date when South African Airways (SAA) will get airborne again. However, Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Phumulo Masualle says plans for the national carrier to fly are at an advanced stage.

Masualle was speaking at a Parliament Joint Meeting today.

SAA was placed under business rescue in December 2019 and its business rescue practitioners exited in April 2021.

The department says the R10.5 billion given to the airliner has been used for restructuring, including paying voluntary Severance packages, un-flown tickets as well as other creditors.

About R4.4 billion is yet to be spent.

Masualle says they are also looking into the preparedness of pilots to fly again.

“SAA flying again, I can just say the preparations are quite advanced and certainly in respect of being responsible. I think the concerns that were raised by the honourable member, who is also a pilot in his other life, would definitely be serious concerns in respect of having pilots flying not prepared, not ready because the issues of safety of passengers are quite important.”

Discussion with SAA’s interim CEO on his strategy post business rescue:

No further financial assistance

Last week, Public Enterprise Minister, Pravin Gordhan, said SAA will have to stand on its own and cannot expect any financial assistance from government.

“We said that the outcome of the BRP will be a new airline, which is financially viable and which is not dependant on the fiscus. And so, throughout this process, we’ve made it very clear to ourselves and to others including various parliamentary structures that SAA will not be expecting nor should it request any further money from government itself. The SEP partner comes in with new cash to operate the new airline, and government takes responsibility in terms of the 10.5 plus the remainder it takes us to 14 to “clean up” the airline and the historic costs of the airline.”

SAA will not receive any further bailouts from government:

The Minister said he is not sure whether they got value for money from the business rescue process to improve the situation at the airline.

“Did we get value for money out of the BRP? I’m not sure because there are other examples where business rescue was executed in a much more efficient way than we’ve seen here in the SAA case. We will I’m sure have an opportunity to ask the question whether there was value for money and whether it was done as efficiently as it could have been done,” Gordhan said.