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Gordhan endorses Nene’s decision on SAA/Airbus deal

The finance minister last night at the 11th hour, directed SAA to conclude the deal with Airbus.

FILE. The transaction will see SAA swap the purchase of 10 A320 aircraft for a lease of five A330-300 aircraft from Airbus. Picture: FlySAA Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has endorsed Nhlanhla Nene's decision to conclude the South African Airways (SAA) deal with Airbus, avoiding a massive payment due yesterday.

Gordhan directed the SAA board to conclude the deal with Airbus at the eleventh hour last night.

This was the same directive from Nene, who rejected an alternative deal to bring in a middleman to purchase the aircraft proposed by SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni.

The transaction will see SAA swap the purchase of 10 A320 aircraft for a lease of five A330-300 aircraft from Airbus.

National Treasury says it will work closely with SAA to finalise the swap with Airbus, with the manufacturer indicating that it wants all documentation by next Monday.

Treasury spokesperson Phumza Macanda says SAA has confirmed the process is underway to conclude the deal within the next few days.

"What Minister Gordhan did after he was reappointed, was to give SAA another turn to make presentations."

Treasury says further measures will be taken next year to stabilise the embattled airline.