Gordhan says SAA to take to the skies as soon as August

Minister Pravin Gordhan and department officials updated Parliament’s public enterprises committee on the status of the national carrier earlier on Wednesday.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - A re-born South African Airways (SAA) could take to the skies as soon as August, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has told Parliament.

Gordhan and department officials updated Parliament’s public enterprises committee on the status of the national carrier earlier on Wednesday.

SAA exited business rescue at the end of April and was handed over as a going concern.

Gordhan said SAA’s struggling subsidiaries – Mango, Air Chefs and SAA technical – will get R2.7 billion as soon as parliament approves this.

READ: Work to save SAA has only begun, says public enterprises dept

The money is part of the R10.5 billion given to SAA for the business rescue process.

Light at the end of the tunnel for SAA – and a lifeline coming for its subsidiaries - which were hard hit by the national carrier’s grounding and COVID and are battling to cover costs.

Gordhan said discussions with a strategic equity partner, or SEP, for SAA were nearing conclusion, with both parties engaged in doing due diligence.

“When exactly do we take off? Closer to August, it would appear – although we are doing our best to fast-track the due diligence processes with the SEP and vice-versa.”

READ: SAA business rescue comes to an end

Gordhan dealt with SAA’s subsidiaries.

He said the restructuring of SAA technical had started after it lost between 70% and 80% of its business during lockdown.

SA’s difficulties impacted on Mango, which currently has most of its planes grounded. Air Chefs is presently dormant.

The Special Appropriations Bill before Parliament provides for R2.7 billion of the R10.5 billion given to SAA to be split between the three subsidiaries to keep them going.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.