Slow progress in the launch of the new SAA

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Preparations for the launch of the new South African Airways (SAA) are moving at a snail’s pace. So far, the new management has prioritised the renewal of expired safety licenses. The strategic equity partnership with the Takatso Consortium has not yet been consummated.

There’s still a long road ahead before SAA can take to the skies again. It’s been over a month since government announced the 51-percent sale of SAA to the Takatso Consortium.

Gordhan announces equity partner for South African Airways:

But there seems to be little or no movement in concluding some of the paperwork, this could be a sign that the negotiations on the structure of the company could be tough. The Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) is still waiting for SAA to update its registration. SAA has also not amended its Memorandum of Incorporation.

Slow progress the launch of the new SAA:

Senior Manager at the CIPC Adv Christa Klokow says, “In terms of our internal workflow systems we have not received a change in the MOI for SAA, in terms of the Companies Act any change to the directorship of any companies requires that the company must inform the CIPC in ten working days after the change has occurred who the person is and their address. In the case of SAA after it exited business rescue their minor changes but that related to non-executive directorship, there has not been a big shift, notify us accordingly.”

The airline has been making a little progress in some areas. SAA has been hard at work taking its aircraft out of preservation storage and replacing many of the expired components, as well as ensuring that the pilots and cabin crew currencies are renewed. SAA also recently applied for a compliance certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). So far, the CAA has flagged a number of non-compliance issues with the national flag carrier.

Simon Segwabe, Executive for Aviation Safety Operation at the CAA says, “SAA applied for the renewal of their air operator certificate on the 1st of April that was followed by the renewal audit in order to ensure compliance with the CAA regulations prior to the issuance of the air operator license certificate. Where we are with the process currently, we have noted some non-compliances with our audits, and the operator is afforded opportunity to address some non-compliances prior to us concluding the transaction with them.”

The authority says the ball is currently in SAA’s court to correct all areas of non-compliance.

“At this stage we are guided by the corrective plan submitted by SAA, only then once found acceptable we will be able to issue the certificate at this stage. The process is in the hands of the applicant or the operator,” adds Segwabe.

The good news is that if SAA succeeds in addressing all its non-compliances, the airline could have its operator certificate by the end of this month.

This is just one hurdle to overcome, with many more to come before SAA can finally spread its wings again.