South African Airways rescue plan deadline extended to May 29

A South African Airways aircraft (bottom) arrives as a Kenya Airways aircraft prepares to take off at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Creditors of cash-strapped South African Airways (SAA) have authorised an extension of the deadline for the airline’s business rescue plan until May 29, the airline’s administrators said on Thursday.

State-owned SAA entered a form of bankruptcy protection in December and is fighting for its survival.

The specialists appointed to try to save the airline requested the latest extension for the rescue plan because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

“We confirm that a further extension for the publication of the plan from 31 March 2020 to 29 May 2020 has been approved by the requisite majority of the creditors,” the specialists said in a letter seen by Reuters.

SAA has not made a profit since 2011 and has received more than 20 billion rand ($1.1 billion) in bailouts in the past three years.

It said last week that it would suspend intercontinental and African regional flights until the end of May because of the coronavirus.

It has also suspended domestic flights during a 21-day nationwide lockdown ordered by President Cyril Ramaphosa to try to contain the local spread of the virus.