South African Airways struggles to activate plan to fly again

*A team of business-rescue experts says it is resolving remaining issues including outstanding employee payments and appointment of a receiver to take over financial management of the South African Airways possibly March 2021

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Several over 15 months after stopping operations, administrators of the embattled South African Airways (SAA) are preparing to wrap up work on the dormant state airline, but  questions over its future viability remain as the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis depresses demand in the global aviation industry.

SAA is close to being “both solvent and liquid,” with remaining issues including outstanding employee payments and the appointment of a receiver to take over financial management likely to be resolved this month, a team of business-rescue experts led by Siviwe Dongwana said in an update, Bloomberg report said.

While the carrier has cut almost 80 percent of its workforce and reduced liabilities to R2.6 billion ($177 million) from R38 billion after deals with creditors and lessors, there’s no indication of an imminent return to flying, according to report.

Global air traffic is expected to remain depressed for years, and even relatively strong airlines remain dependent on governments and shareholders for help.

ConsumerConnect also learnt that SAA has been struggling for years, with the latest administration process initiated in 2019, months before the pandemic struck, in a bid to end the steady stream of state bailouts that had kept it afloat.

Flights ceased in March 2020 amid global lockdowns, and though administrators said management is working on the restart plan, no date for a return has been set.

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