South African Airways (SAA) has put up for sale nine of its Airbus aircraft, according to a tender document seeking proposals from interested buyers that was seen by Reuters on Thursday.
SAA, which was placed in a form of bankruptcy protection late last year, is selling the Airbus A340-300s and A340-600s as well as 15 spare engines, the document said.
The development comes even as South Africa is scrambling to secure extra funding in a last-ditch bid to to rescue the national carrier and around 10,000 related jobs.
Tito Mboweni, the country’s finance minister, told business leaders in Johannesburg ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos next week that the Treasury had provided “financial support to the best of our abilities”.
“As of yesterday when I was speaking to the director-general of National Treasury we were still trying to find additional financing for SAA. … Let’s keep our fingers crossed,” he said.
SAA was promised two billion rand ($139 million, Sh13.9bn) from the government and another two billion rand from lenders. But while the lenders paid up, the Treasury has yet to establish a mechanism for identifying and dispersing its share.
The airline is one of several state entities, including state power company Eskom, struggling with debt after nearly a decade of mismanagement.