SOUTH African Airways, SAA acting chief executive officer, Nico Bezuidenhout has said that the airline is on its way to relative stability.
“South Africans now have a national aviation asset that is well on its way to relative stability,” said Bezuidenhout.
Speaking on a recent media briefing where he provided feedback on the conclusion of SAA’s 90 Day Action Plan, Bezuidenhout stated that the roadmap was to stabilise the carrier and resume full implementation of a refined Long-Term Turnaround Strategy.
According to him, “there is no doubt that while we have achieved significant milestones during the 90-day period in review, the real task of full implementation of a refined LTTS is at the starting block.”
Within the 90 days, the airline managed to implement and effect several changes that address some of its major financial issues. Total annualised EBITDA improvement, from the commencement of its new financial year on April 1, would amount to R 1, 25 billion as per the initial target as agreed in November, Bezuidenhout said.
SAA expects to save around R440m per annum as a result of cutting its direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing and Johannesburg and Mumbai, the airline has also renegotiated a deal with Airbus, first made in 2002, to receive 10 of the 20 A320 aircraft it had on order, he said.
Bezuidenhout noted that SAA will no longer receive 10 A320s, rather, it will take delivery of five A330 wide-body, fuel-efficient aircraft that will better serve its medium-haul African routes as these will come on stream in 2016 and will save the airline R1.4 billion.
The SAA Board has investigated several future funding models for the business and will table recommendations to National Treasury. This includes plans to privatise parts of SAA operations as well as pursue a public listing of its subsidiary, Mango.

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