Due to lack of funding, the directors of the airline South African Airways have decided to suspend its operations until they find funds to carry out its restructuring. Freight and repatriation flights already scheduled will however be operated.
Based at the airport of Johannesburg-OR Tambo, the South African national company believed itself saved last July, after having been on the brink since December (and already given for dead and then resuscitated, more particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic). But the administrators of the BRP (Business Rescue Practitioners) did not obtain the $ 598 million promised by the government, and announced on September 29, 2020 in an internal memo seen by Reuters the “suspension of all flight operations with immediate effect”, and the placing under “care and maintenance” of South African Airways. It will nevertheless ensure all repatriation and freight flights already planned, but will not be able to schedule new ones. Remember that no commercial flights have been operated by SAA since the end of March and the start of the health crisis.
This announcement appears to involve a new turnaround from the South African government, which in July accepted the restructuring plan approved by the creditors, before rejecting it eight days later, then changing its mind in mid-September by promising R10 billion.
The “new South African Airways” would see its effective halved to around 2,500 employees, and its great limited to “about twenty planes” for the coming years. According to the Ministry of Public Enterprises, “ a new airline, restructured, competitive, created from the old ” and who is ” the best option to get back into the air immediately – and avoid liquidation.
A first stop of operations last May had been stopped by justice at the last minute, a court seized by unions having declared illegal layoff plan announced a month earlier, which provided for the departure of all employees to avoid bankruptcy.
In the red since 2011, the Star Alliance company has been on a drip for years and subjected to endless political intervention.
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