SAA might take off in July, says interim CEO Kgokolo

The struggling airline management said it would be ready to take to the skies if there aren't any disruptions from the raging pandemic and airline staff.

SAA plane at O.R. Tambo International Airport. Image: 123rf

CAPE TOWN - South African Airways could take to the skies by as early as July, according to the airline's management. The recently appointed interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said the airline was insolvent.

Kgokolo and the airline’s board briefed Parliament’s standing committee on appropriations of the funding the carrier and its subsidiaries desperately need.

South Africa’s national airline had its wings clipped and was grounded last year March last. It hasn’t flown as it was under business rescue.

Kgokolo told MPs that should things go according to plan, without any disruptions from pilots and the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline would be back in the sky soon.

"The business rescue plan had proposed that the resumption of flying should around July 2021. However, the timing of the pandemic and the receipt of funding had resulted in it being set [at a later stage]. We looked at the environment and we looked at the where the organisation is. A proposal - we are looking at July or August 2021," the interim CEO said.

Board chairperson Geoff Qhena told the committee SAA subsidiaries like Mango and SA Technical needed a R2.7 billion cash injection.

"Even though they were not under business rescue, they were also impacted," he said.

The airline also cut its staff from over 4,000 to just 1,000 employees.

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