South African Airways (SAA) says it will need time and patience from the public as they transition and implement a new interim business plan for the new airline.

SAA’s business rescue practitioners announced on Friday that the airline has exited business rescue.

The national carrier was placed under business rescue 18 months ago in a bid to save it from total collapse. The COVID-19 pandemic added to its financial woes, forcing it to ground all its aircraft.

The business rescue practitioners say the airline is now solvent and that operations have been handed back to its Board and executive team after they filed a notice of “substantial implementation” of a business rescue plan with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

SAA says they will be giving more details in the coming weeks regarding what the new airline will look like and how it will work.

Plans afoot for new airline 

Last week SAA interim CEO, Thomas Kgokolo said plans to restart the airline are already under way. Kgokolo said the company will soon start the process of retraining its pilots and reviewing its air safety compliance.

The airline is working on a marketing strategy aimed at regaining old customers.

SAA’s interim Board appointed Kgokolo – a qualified chartered accountant with a wealth of experience as a non-executive director for various organisations.

He took over the reins from the business rescue process and is set to facilitate the airline’s process of getting a strategic equity partner.

Kgokolo says his priority, for now, is for the SAA to resume flights.

“We need to do training for the pilot, remember they have not been flying for a while. Secondly from the compliance perspective, we need to ensure that we are at the right level. But more importantly, we need to make sure that from a marketing perspective we are organised so that we can reach out to our customers,” says Kgokolo.

He also says operationally at the corporate level, the compliance level must be done adequately as well.

In conversation with SAA’s new interim CEO Thomas Kgolo: