Minister of Public Enterprises: South African Airways to undergo radical restructuring

South African Airways says the strike by its workers is costing the debt-laden airline 50 million rand ($3.36m) a day [November 15: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters]
FILE PHOTO: Passengers board a South African Airways plane at the Port Elizabeth International Airport in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa, September 30, 2018./REUTERS

South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises says the embattled South African Airways (SAA) will undergo radical restructuring to ensure its financial sustainability.

Mr Pravin Gordhan said there is “no other way forward” for the troubled state-owned airline that has suffered cumulative losses of more than $2bn (£1.5bn) over the past 13 years and has not made a profit since 2011.

He said discussions with lenders are ongoing “to secure the necessary funds to cover the operational and structural transition over the next few months”.

Mr Gordhan expressed confidence in the airline’s efforts to restore sales.

“We therefore reassure customers and encourage them to buy tickets with confidence. SAA is determined to remain open for business,” he said on Sunday.

Commercial banks are willing to give SAA a loan but they require the government to guarantee that it will be repaid. The cabinet is due to decide whether it can provide that guarantee.

The airline last month grounded all its flights for a weekend following a strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South Africa Cabin Crew Association (Sacca).