As SAA’s business rescue comes to an end, there’s still no word on when it will actually fly again

South African Airways (SAA) is expected to finalise its business rescue proceedings by 31 March 2021.

In a notice sent to shareholders on Thursday (18 March), the airline’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs) said they will file a notice of substantial implementation with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), resulting in the termination of the business rescue process as soon as it finalises a number of outstanding issues.

The BRPs said that they are making ‘every effort’ to finalise these outstanding items by the end of March 2021.

The group confirmed that the airline was still looking for equity partners and that this process is being driven by – and is the responsibility of – the Department of Public Enterprises, as the  airline’s shareholder.

The BRPs also confirmed that SAA management is working on a plan to get the airline flying again – but did not provide a timeline.

“The SAA board and management are busy working on the restart plan and the resumption of operations of the restructured SAA. SAA has received funding for this purpose,” the BRPs said.

An update from the airline, published on its website at the start of March, noted that significant obstacles are still blocking its way back to the skies – the biggest of which is that international air travel is still conditional, with many countries battling with fluctuating rates of Covid-19 infection and/or new waves of infection.

For now, this has necessitated that all domestic and regional SAA-operated flights be suspended until at least 30 April 2021. It added that all SAA-operated international flights have been suspended even later – until 30 October 2021.

The airline said that because there is greatly reduced demand for flying,  it will only use its ‘marketing flight numbers’, or codeshare agreements for the time-being.

“Although South Africa is travel-ready, demand for domestic air travel has been significantly reduced, therefore to avoid over-capacity and to ensure commercial viability, SAA has taken the decision to only operate our marketing (SA) flight numbers.

“We are delighted that the South African Airways code is available for booking on the domestic route network as our subsidiary low-cost carrier Mango continues to operate,” it said.


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As SAA’s business rescue comes to an end, there’s still no word on when it will actually fly again