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SAA relooking at loss-making routes

The airline is losing R1 billion annually through routes that go into India and Asia.

FILE: SAA has given itself a deadline to implement a turnaround strategy by March 2015. Picture: FlySAA Facebook Page.

CAPE TOWN - South African Airways (SAA) on Wednesday said it's aggressively looking into airplane routes that are costing R1 billion per annum to recover the airline's dire financial situation.

SAA acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nico Bezuidenhout briefed 567 Cape Talk's Kieno Kammies on the airline's 90-day turnaround plan.

"Our process at the moment, given that the role is reconstituted, is to step through all these controls and government steps saying 'let's see where all the failures exist and correct them'."

In recent years, SAA faced money issues and has been relying on the state to stay afloat.

This has caused the airline to delay releasing financial statements as well as put its annual general meeting on hold.

Although SAA has relied on state funding, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene also turned down government grants for the airline.

The airline has given itself a deadline to have implemented a successful turnaround strategy by March next year.

"It's our our responsibility to implement this plan, there is no new strategy, this is the old strategy. Implement what you say you are going to implement," says Bezuidenhout.

He says looking into routes that go into India and Asia, it was discovered that the airliner was losing R1 billion per annum.

"We need to very aggressively look at those routes and make changes."

Poor corporate governance is also an area that needs to be relooked. Two months ago, six SAA board members resigned.

Cabinet later approved the appointment of additional board members.

Bezuidenhout is adamant the new board stood as a united front with the challenge of recovering SAA's financial state.