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Government Provides Sneak Peek Of What The New SA Airways Will Look Like

The government has provided a sneak peek at what the new SAA will look like, saying the proposed airline will be based on a modern aircraft fleet, cost efficiency, a network structure and a right-sized workforce.

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said on Wednesday that it was at the final stages of finalising the SAA business rescue plan after all the conditions had been met last week.

The DPE said it would oversee four phases to complete the process of implementing the plan.

The department said it would implement the agreed voluntary severance packages (VSPs) for employees and appoint non-executive directors and a new management team.

The department said it would soon appoint a smaller board of directors that would appoint the new-look airline’s executive management, including a chief risk officer, chief information officer and chief operating officer.

It said a transaction adviser had been identified to assist with transaction planning, feasibility analysis, procurement and implementation of transactions, and raising funds and investments for the new airline.

The DPE said the advisers were also expected to assess unsolicited expressions of interests from private sector funders, private equity investors and partners for a future restructured SAA.

“The DPE welcomes the attraction of a mix of local and international investor groups to provide the new airline with technical, financial, and operational expertise to ensure significant South African ownership while diversifying the investor base,” it said.

More than 3 000 SAA workers have applied for VSPs. The airline will retain only 1 000 permanent employees after the restructuring process has ended.

Last month, the majority of SAA’s creditors voted in favour of the R2.27 billion business rescue plan.

Former chief commercial officer Philip Saunders was appointed as the interim chief executive.

The DPE said although the government would maintain a certain level of ownership of the new carrier, it would like to see an efficient and modern aircraft fleet with hybrid density options acquired at competitive rates.

“The DPE believes that the restructuring contained in the business rescue plan for SAA is fundamental and will create a solid base for the emergence of a competitive, viable and sustainable national airline for the Republic of South Africa.”

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