‘Revamped’ SAA should take to the skies in August, says new CEO Kgokolo

Thomas Kgokolo is joining the cash-strapped airline at a time when its business rescue process, which started in 2019, is yet to be concluded.

Thomas Kgokolo. Picture: @saica_ca_sa/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - South African Airways (SAA) interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo has on Wednesday told 702 the airline should be back in the skies in August.

Kgokolo assumed the position last week after being appointed by the board.

READ: New SAA CEO Thomas Kgokolo expected to hit the ground running

He is a chartered accountant by profession, a director at Air Traffic Navigation Services and he’s worked at the Competition Commission as CFO.

Kgokolo is joining the cash-strapped airline at a time when its business rescue process, which started in 2019, is yet to be concluded.

LISTEN: Newly appointed SAA Ceo on his plans for the airline

He believes a revamped SAA should be back in the market and flying again around August.

This may sound ambitious and for this plan to be realised, a number of things must happen first.

The business rescue process, which continues to cost taxpayers millions, must be finalised and then private equity partners who have shown interest in investing in the airline must come on board.

“The first thing is to do a transition from the business rescue and I think towards end of May it should be concluded.”

But what are the chances that the revamped airline will survive and even thrive given the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry?

“We then need to make sure that the latest technology, in terms of aircraft, is able to drive us in terms of cost efficiency. So we’ll try to make sure that some of the costs that we proposed, there’s a bit of a viable cost in it as well.”

While some South Africans have shown no confidence in the airline because of its many troubles, Kgokolo believes many people still love brand SAA and said he would do everything possible to ensure it would be commercially viable.

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