The South African Airways (SAA) is urging passengers, travel agencies and airline partners to continue booking flights on the airline after receiving R3.5 billion emergency funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

The airline says the money will also give stakeholders of the airline and partners comfort that the rescue process is on a significantly sounder footing.

SAA’s Chief Commercial Officer Philip Saunders says DBSA has also committed to make an additional R2 billion available as a draw down loan.

SAA has not made a profit since 2011 and has had more than R20 billion in bailouts over the last three years.

The national carrier is still awaiting the promised R2 billion of emergency funding promise to it by government when the company entered bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile, some labour unions have welcomed the Development Bank of South Africa lifeline.

The National Transport Movement (NTM) says it will meet with the Business Rescue Practitioner to look at the conditions attached to the funding.

NTM president Mashudu Raphetha says the union will ensure that there are minimum job losses during the airline’s restructuring.