SAA in talks with private partners

South African Airways is open to outside investment and in talks with a number of potential partners, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Speaking at the Financial Times Africa Summit in London, Ramaphosa said that the airline was currently in discussion with a number of interested parties, reports Reuters.

“South African Airways is one of those state-owned enterprises that has relied on lots of state bailouts,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are on record as saying we are open to the participation of the private sector. As we speak now, we’re talking to a few interested parties when it comes to SAA.”

Earlier this month Ethiopian Airlines said it would consider buying a stake in South African Airways – should South Africa decide to sell equity in the struggling state carrier.

SAA hasn’t made a profit since 2011 and has delayed the release of annual earnings due to its precarious financial state.

While the ruling African National Congress has frequently said that it would consider selling equity in the airline, there’s been no visible strategy for such a plan, said Tewolde Gebre Mariam, the chief executive officer of Ethiopian, Africa’s biggest and only consistently profitable airline.

“We are interested in supporting South African Airways,” he said in an interview at Ethiopian’s head office near Addis Ababa airport. If South Africa asked Ethiopian to buy a stake, “we would consider it,” Tewolde said.

Read: Ethiopian Airlines considers buying a stake in SAA

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SAA in talks with private partners