No matter hou bizarre this may seem, government communications unit SAnews.gov.za says SAA “is pushing ahead and making progress in implementing its turnaround plan to lead the airline to financial sustainability”.
Earlier this year the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mondli Gungubele, requested Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations (Scopa) to grant the SAA bailouts of R21 billion over the next three years in a bid to get it out of its financial predicament. In 2017 the national carrier lost R5.67billion.
But now government says “over the past six months, SAA has been on roadshows to meet its major codeshare partners and other potential commercial partners to revitalise the commercial delivery under the existing agreements and explore mutually beneficial opportunities to expand the network.”
In its statement, the national carrier said network optimisation and development is an important part of its turnaround strategy.
In November 2017, SAA embarked on a network and route rationalisation programme. Part of that programme was the revitalisation of all alliance and partnerships, including interline and codeshare agreements.
In the meetings with other airlines held over the last six months, SAA also discussed the possibility of these airlines taking their excess cabin and flight deck crew on a contract basis as part of the turnaround strategy implementation.
SAA has met Emirates, Turkish Airways, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Mauritius, Unite Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
“These discussions have been purely about commercial agreements such as interline, codeshare, cargo as well as possibilities of these airlines taking some of our excess flight deck and cabin crew staff.
“We have not discussed any possibility of them investing in SAA as part of the SEP [strategic equity partner] process,” said the airline.