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SAA confirms loss of R5.7bn over past financial year

SAA says lower passenger numbers and the strengthening of the rand against the dollar, as well as the overall negativity of current movements, have contributed to the losses.

FILE: JB Magwaza, South African Airways board chairperson, and CEO Vuyani Jarana appear before Parliament on 27 March 2018. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The South African Airways (SAA) has confirmed losses of R5.7 billion over the past financial year.

It was due to present the information in Parliament on Wednesday, but a meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance was cancelled over differences between MPs, about whether the meeting should be held in secret as had been scheduled.

Treasury has now released the presentation that chief executive Vuyani Jarana was due to present to the committee. It doesn’t contain any information not already in the public domain.

The SAA delegation was sent away by the acting committee chairperson Thandi Tobias, without being given the opportunity to say anything.

The presentation released by Treasury confirms figures contained in SAA’s annual report released in March.

The airline’s executives were due to brief parliamentarians on its fourth-quarter figures, which reveal that the losses the airline suffered were R1.2 billion more than expected.

SAA says lower passenger numbers and the strengthening of the rand against the dollar, as well as the overall negativity of current movements, have contributed to the losses.

The R5.7 billion overall loss for 2017, is almost R3 billion more than predicted. So far, this year, the airline’s revenue is R2 billion less than expected.

SAA says this is due to a decline in international, regional and domestic sales. The airline is only expecting to break even by 2021.

Parliament has already heard from Treasury that the airline will need R5 billion from state coffers this year alone. But its turnaround strategy will require at least R20 billion to implement.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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