Reaching an agreement with the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) has cleared another hurdle out the way to get South African Airways (SAA) in the air.

SAAPA Grant Back

About 95% of the members of the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) voted in favour of an in-principle settlement agreement offered by South African Airways (SAA), according to SAAPA chairperson Captain Grant Back.

“The in-principle agreement is now being put into proper legal context and language. In terms of the agreement, SAAPA members, who haven’t been paid in 15 months, will start receiving payments within 72 hours of the agreement being signed, including the 13th cheque owed from two years ago,” said Back.

Due to non-payment of salaries, some desperate SAA pilots have had to sell their homes and move in with family and friends to survive.

More than 200 SAA pilots have already taken voluntary severance packages during the airline’s business rescue process. SAAPA expects that a further about 290 will have to be retrenched in order to narrow it down to the 88 pilots envisioned in terms of SAA’s rescue plan.

SAAPA represents at least 90% of pilots at SAA. Members had until 17:00 on Sunday afternoon to cast their votes on the agreement. At least 50% plus one SAAPA member’s vote in favour were needed to implement the agreement.

The deadlock with SAAPA is one of the so-called legacy issues that the Department of Public Enterprises and SAA had to resolve. The airline’s chosen strategic equity partner, the Takatso consortium, has been clear that would not be taking on legacy issues.

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