SAA suspends operations, no funding found

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South African Airways (SAA) is being put under “care and maintenance” by administrators in charge of its restructuring, meaning a complete stop of the carrier’s operations.

The information was revealed in an internal notice, issued on September 29, 2020, and obtained by Reuters.

“The BRPs (administrators) have made a decision to suspend all the airline operations with immediate effect,” the notice states. According to the document, the South African flag carrier will remain in such state until there will be funding to restructure it.

The development means yet another twist in the airline’s history. The restructuring plan was approved by the administrators on July 14, 2020, and two days later the South African Department of Public Enterprises said that the National Treasury committed over 1 billion rand ($59 million) to finance it. On July 21 the government said it disagrees with the plan and has not committed any funding, while on September 18 it reversed its decision and assured of its commitment to provide 10.5 billion rand ($650 million). 

Administrator’s latest statement and the suspension of operations means that the government may have reversed its decision again.

The last time SAA was expected to cease its operations was in May 2020, but the airline did not do so, and continued to conduct flights. South Africa’s ailing carrier was given bankruptcy protection in December 2019, after 8 years of continuous losses. Previous attempts to restructure it were met with opposition from both the government and trade unions.

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