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SAA, Etihad expand partnership

The collaboration will see increased flights between South Africa and Abu Dhabi.

SAA. Picture: FlySAA Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - As South African Airways (SAA) attempts to turnaround its financial position, the national carrier has announced the second phase of strategic co-operation with Etihad Airways.

This will see increased flights between South Africa and Abu Dhabi.

Earlier on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced that National Treasury is to assume control of SAA.

He made the comments during a post-Cabinet briefing in Pretoria.

Radebe emphasised concern about state-owned entities, including SAA, Eskom and the South African Post Office.

He says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been appointed to deal with a turnaround strategy for these entities.

"These state-owned entities play a critical developmental role within the South African economy. SAA will be transferred from the Department of Public Enterprises to fall under National Treasury. The Presidency will closely monitor the implementation of these turnaround plans."

It was also confirmed that Eskom had sufficient funds to continue purchasing diesel until the end of January.

But the minister says they are also putting other plans in place, such as accelerating the programme for the substitution of diesel with gas to fire up the diesel power plants.

A technical team will also ensure other interventions are implemented, such as co-generation opportunities.

DIRE FINANCIAL SITUATION

SAA on Wednesday said it was aggressively reexamining its routes in order to improve the airline's dire financial situation.

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 and saying 'let's see where all the failures exist and correct them'."

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

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

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