SAA is set to re-launch in January 2021, according to a report from the South African Sunday Times.

The report stated that the government is working with private sector investors for the re-launch – and that it had received “more than 10 unsolicited offers” to partner with SAA.

These interested investors are also exploring potential integrations of SAA and its subsidiaries, including SAA Technical and Mango.

Bloomberg reported last week that the government has started talks with investors who were interested in buying stakes in SAA.

SAA needs R10 billion in funding, and the investor negotiations are currently being handled by Rand Merchant Bank.

More than 10 bids for SAA

The South African government has received more unsolicited interests from private sector funders, investors and partners for a future restructured South African Airways (SAA) and its subsidiaries.

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said that as of the end of August it had received more than 10 unsolicited interests for SAA and its subsidiaries Air Chefs, South African Airways Technical and Mango Airlines.

“As the sole shareholder on behalf of government, the DPE had been busy assessing the interests from the several unsolicited local and international Strategic Equity Partners (SEPs) as part of the implementation of the Business Rescue Plan, which was published at the end of June 2020,” it said.

The DPE said that such investments in the airline and its subsidiaries will help support key economic sectors, including tourism and solidify South Africa as an African gateway to international markets.

“Such partnerships will also improve scale and scope and ensure continuity of value creation to the South African economy and long-term sustainability of the aviation industry managed by competent, competitive and skilled personnel who possess strategic and technical capabilities, which are critical to the success of the new carrier.”

Ethiopian Airlines Group, Africa’s largest and only consistently profitable airline, has previously expressed interestin investing in SAA.

A new look SAA?

Will The NEW SAA look any different to the previous version of the national carrier? Only time will tell.

Voluntary severance packages have been offered to employees in a bid to bring staff numbers down, and only 1,000 employees will remain to start the new airline.

This will see 2,700 SAA staff lose their jobs, including a large number of its pilots.

As part of the restructuring, SAA’s current complement of 625 pilots will be cut to 88.

It has also been reported that equal employment metrics will be more important than seniority for determining which pilots will be retained at the new SAA.

This is to address concerns from sectors players that the majority of pilots and cabin crew in the local aviation sector are white.

The government has said it will ensure the new SAA offers the right routes at the right times, and at competitive prices, when it takes to the skies again.

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