Government says it’s received 10 offers to buy SAA

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) has received a host of “unsolicited interest” from both local and international investors, for the revival of South African Airways (SAA), and is currently weighing is options, government said on Monday.

As at the beginning of August, the government said it received more than 10 offers for SAA and its subsidiaries, Air Chefs, SAA Technical and Mango Airlines.

Read: SAA rescue plan comes into operation

SAA, which has been in business rescue since December, is estimated to need at least R10 billion to resume operations.

“The DPE believes 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,” it said.

Read: Potential funders for SAA put their hands up

In the process, all employees would be retrenched except for 1 000 staff members who have been chosen to start the new airline on different terms and conditions.

It added that while maintaining a certain level of presence in the ownership of the new carrier, government would like to see several characteristics in the new airline as envisaged in the new business rescue plan, from June:

  • An efficient and modern aircraft fleet with hybrid density options acquired at competitive rates resulting in cost efficiency;
  • An offering with the right routes, at the right times and at competitive prices;
  • A network structure that allows for connectivity at hubs, whilst maintaining elevated aircraft utilisation;
  • Connecting Africa to world economic hubs whilst maintaining diplomatic connectivity;
  • A right-sized and motivated workforce;
  • A customer-centric airline designed to be lean, technology savvy, digitally native and agile to service all market segments;
  • Appointment of a smaller, effective, reinforced, and empowered board of directors and
  • A centralised, single commercial team-leading fleet, network, pricing, revenue management, product, services, loyalty programme, sales, and marketing for the new airline.

According to a report by the Sunday Times SAA could relaunch as early as January 2021.