SAA Will Not Be Attractive To Investors For Some Time – MPs Told

SAA has operational inefficiency challenges and needs to revitalize its business model to remain competitive. PICTURE: Tourism update

CAPE TOWN: The board of the embattled national carrier says South African Airways (SAA) is not in a position to take on a strategic equity partner and this is unlikely to change in the medium term.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes privatisation is the only way to rescue the bankrupt airline. But board member Martin Kingston says SAA is simply not a viable investment option.

Parliament’s finance committee heard on Tuesday that the airline’s turnaround strategy is not expected to yield fruit until 2021.

The airline is forecasting a loss of R4.8 billion for the 2017/18 financial year.

The SAA board says the airline is in a cash crunch and has a dearth of critical skills needed to turn it around.

Kingston says even if the government decides that privatisation is the way to go, the airline will not be attractive to prospective investors for some time yet.

“There’s nobody that is going to buy into a black hole where we are not able to identify, assess, or size the magnitude of the problem, how long it will last for, or when indeed we can come to an effective turnaround.”

SAA is due to hold its annual general meeting on Thursday, and to table its long overdue financial results before Parliament, next month.