South African Express staff attempts to buy the dying airline

Wikimedia Commons, Bob Adams

Hundreds of South African Express Airways (SA) employees are attempting to save their jobs by taking unusual measures as a final liquidation threatens the existence of the airline.

SA Express employees are considering buying the state-owned airline. The staff  has taken an initiative to incorporate a special purpose vehicle as an acquiring entity to bid for the carrier.

The employees seek to become co-owners of the carrier together with Fly SAX, a Kenyan private charter airline. Owervise, a final liquidation would imply the death of SA Express after 26 years of operations and 691 employees would lose their jobs.

The government of South Africa has placed the airline into business rescue in February 2020. The air carrier has been grounded since March 18, 2020.

On September 9, 2020, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria announced that the carrier will be liquidated on October 28, 2020. The final court decision comes after potencial airline’s investors did not raise equity to save the regional airline as per requirements outlined in a business rescue plan and failed the process.

Previously, the court already postponed a possible final liquidation of SA Express in June 2020. 

If the employees’ plan fails, liquidation would result in a fire sale of all SA Express assets. The earnings would be shared among the company’s creditors that are owed more than $152 million (R2.5-billion).


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