SA Express withdraws from liquidation proceedings

Airline SA Express has confirmed that an application for liquidation brought against it has been withdrawn.

“Following an application for liquidation brought against SA Express in the Gauteng High Court in June 2017 by Solenta Aviation, the airline can confirm that it was served with a notice of withdrawal on 6 November 2017,” the airline said in a statement on Friday.

“The airline has always maintained that this was a matter of contractual dispute and did not warrant an application for liquidation, said Victor Xaba, acting CEO of SA Express.

“It is encouraging that both parties could reach consensus on the process to be applied in handling this.  SA Express has taken lessons out of this experience as to how to build stronger relationships with our stakeholders, especially our suppliers.”

The continued operation of SA Express follows confirmation from South African Airways that it is seeking an equity partner that’s able to provide cash and operational savings to help turn around the state airline.

One of SAA’s main strengths is a 55% share of the South African market, which also includes contributions from low-cost carrier Mango and SA Express, SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana said on Tuesday.

A merger of the three airlines would help to secure a strong partner, he said, while also contributing to the cost-cutting plan.

“SA Express is still being run as a separate entity by the government with a separate board,” Jarana said. “It has a big strategic role to play.”

Jarana is due to meet with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday to discuss plans for the airline, according to the National Treasury.

The CEO is also holding talks with a group of domestic lenders about 6 billion rand ($423 million) in outstanding loans, according to Jarana.

Read: SAA is shopping for an investor to pull it out of trouble

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SA Express withdraws from liquidation proceedings