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SA Express losing millions over grounded aircraft

The state-owned airline says there's no money to pay suppliers for parts to service the grounded planes.

The tail of an SA Express plane. Picture: facebook.com

CAPE TOWN – State-owned airline SA Express is losing an estimated R5.2 million a month in leasing charges for grounded aircraft.

The revelations emerged during a visit by Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to the airline's offices at OR Tambo International this week.

The airline says there's no money to pay suppliers for parts to service the grounded planes.

Last month the management of SA Express told Scopa that like South African Airways, it's also in financial distress and needed a bailout.

But the real extent of the crisis has been laid bare by staff, who say the company is wasting money chartering aircraft to make up for the leased aircraft which have been grounded.

They've also told Members of Parliament the airline is in severe violation of procurement policies.

Out of 530 contracts, only 50 are valid.

At least 147 contracts have expired but the airline continues to use the suppliers.

Scopa has now asked for a full list of companies contracted to the airline, the values of the contracts and the services they provide.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)