SA Express needs at least R1.74bn to keep flying

Acting CEO Siza Mzimela says the airline is gradually re-introducing its routes from Johannesburg, but it will need more to get all its planes flying again.

FILE: Picture: @flySAExpress/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Embattled regional airline South African Express says it needs a bailout of least an R1.74 billion to keep its aircraft flying.

The new board took office on the same day as the Civil Aviation Authority grounded the airline in May.

It’s told Parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee that the organisation is dysfunctional.

Acting chief executive officer Siza Mzimela says the airline is gradually re-introducing its routes from Johannesburg, but it will need more to get all its planes flying again.

Mzimela says the airline urgently needs financial assistance and has already submitted a request to the government to recapitalise the airline.

She says current bankers have agreed to open some credit lines to assist the airline, but it needs more money to pay long outstanding creditors, to buy spares and to overhaul the engines of its grounded aircraft.

“The three months disruptions stemming from being grounded means we would not be able to break even or make a profit in the first 12 months.”

But parliamentarians are not happy with the repeated requests for bailouts.

They want the airline to produce a plan that will show how it can become profitable without repeated reliance on the fiscus.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)