South Africa’s Mango Airlines to enter business rescue

Johannesburg, South Africa - December 25, 2018: A Boeing 737 airliner of the South African budget airline Mango stands on the apron at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

South African Airways (SAA) subsidiary Mango Airlines will enter a local form of bankruptcy protection known as business rescue, SAA’s interim chief executive Thomas Kgokolo told eNCA television on Monday.

The budget carrier is the fourth South African airline to be placed under business rescue since late 2019, with South African Express placed under provisional liquidation after rescue efforts failed.

SAA, which itself exited business rescue in April, and Mango are among a handful of South African companies that have relied on government bailouts since before the COVID-19 pandemic, placing the national budget under additional strain.

“What we can say is that the board and shareholders have agreed that Mango will go into business rescue,” Kgokolo told eNCA.

“We are currently in consultation with our key stakeholders in terms of how we can manage that particular process.”

The South African Cabin Crew Association, The Mango Pilots Association and the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa said the process was instigated after they filed an application on Monday to place Mango Airlines under business rescue.

“We have no choice as workers at Mango but to unite and to fight with a common vision to save jobs and to fight for the survival of another state-owned entity,” the unions said in a joint statement.

Mango Airlines is in a dire financial position despite the South African parliament having approved a special allocation of 2.7 billion rand ($182.3 million) for SAA subsidiaries.

In April Mango briefly halted flights because of outstanding payments to Airports Company South Africa and has not paid workers salaries for more than two months.