Businesses ‘keen to invest in new SAA’

The government is committed to supporting the formation of a new airline from the ruins of SAA, according to the department of public enterprises
ON THE GROUND: The government is committed to supporting the formation of a new airline from the ruins of SAA, according to the department of public enterprises
Image: 123RF/LEONARD ZHUKOVSKY

The government said it had received unsolicited proposals from private sector funders, private equity investors and potential airline partners for a new national airline that must emerge from the SAA  business rescue process.

The department of public enterprises, a shareholder of SAA on behalf of the government, said it was intent on pursuing credible proposals for investment and strategic partnerships with the private sector, as well as equity participation for employees.

It said such partners would also introduce technical, financial and operational expertise.

The department was speaking on Tuesday, just two days before SAA’s business rescue practitioners are due to have a creditors’ meeting on Thursday to vote on the business rescue plan.

SAA was placed in business rescue in December 2019.

Last week, following the release of the business rescue plan, the department said it had made it clear the desired outcome should be to establish a viable sustainable national carrier.

On Tuesday, the department said the broader aviation industry, and the passenger air transport sector specifically, was essential for servicing and growing economic sectors, including tourism, business connectivity and cargo carriage.

“The [department] is cognisant that airlines across the world have been facing severe drops in flights due to Covid-19, leading to financial and other pressures.

“Therefore, there are possibilities for airline partnerships to improve scale and scope and ensure continuity of value creation to the South African economy and long-term sustainability of the aviation industry,” the department said.

It said the government was committed to supporting the formation of such a new airline with no legacy of financial or operational issues.

The department said it would like to see characteristics of the new airline as envisaged in the new business rescue plan.

These included an efficient and modern aircraft fleet with hybrid density options acquired at competitive rates and resulting in cost efficiency.

It also included an offering with the right routes, at the right times and at competitive prices.    — TimesLIVE


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