'SAA getting preferential treatment'

Some domestic airliners are concerned that SAA’s dependence on govt. is bad for competition.

SAA plane. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Some domestic airliners are upset that South African Airways (SAA) continues receiving government bailouts.

On Monday, the airline revealed it lost more than R1 billion in the past financial year, and a total of 14.7 billion over the past decade.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said a task team has been set up to table a plan to stabilise the carrier.

SAA's also been granted a loan guarantee of R5 billion by the government.

Comair's Erik Venter believes this was unfair, and SAA should be independent.

"This is bad for competition in the domestic market."

But Gigaba said it was not unfair as other domestic airlines also have shareholders.

"We never complain when they go to their shareholders to ask for a capital injection or bailout. This is no bailout, the fact of the matter is that SAA has a shareholder, and that shareholder is government."

Gigaba also warned that he will keep a close eye on the national carrier and the executive will not get salary increases in 2013.

The company recently lost most of its senior employees following the exodus of the board and the CEO.