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Gordhan calls for stabilisation of SAA before South African Express merger

Gordhan says based on current treasury estimates, SAA will still need R2 to R3 billion a year over time.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivering his national Budget speech in Parliament on 24 February 2016. Picture GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says South African Airways (SAA) will first have to be stabilised before any merger with South African Express can take place.

Gordhan announced yesterday that he and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown were exploring a possible merger between the ailing national carrier and the regional state-owned airline possibly with a minority equity shareholder.

WATCH: Budget speech in 60 seconds.

The plan is to create a bigger, more efficient airline, that won't have to depend on billions of rands in taxpayer bailouts to stay afloat.

The minister said, "It's not going to happen overnight, we're going to first have to stabilise SAA itself and that stabilisation process must include in the first instance a new board, secondly a new management team."

SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni has refused to step down.