Friday, 1 May 2020

South Africa to get a new national carrier

South African Airways seems to have reached the end of the line. Despite clinging on to life for the past few months, the airline is now just days away from either being wound down slowly or liquidated quickly, depending on the actions of its 4,700 employees. This would make way for a new national carrier, one which it is hoped will provide jobs for the many who are set to lose out with the closure of SAA. South African Airways, almost a century old, seems to have reached the end of the runway. Discussions that took place between the Public Enterprises Department, SAA’s rescue practitioners, and workers unions suggest that the airline is on the verge of being liquidated. Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana had previously planned to liquidate the airline and had issued a deadline of the 24th April for workers to choose between terminating their contracts or liquidating the airline. However, they put this on hold until May 1st. The flag carrier of South Africa was already struggling with its finances before the global health crisis rocked the aviation industry. At the end of last year, it filed for bankruptcy protection. However, domestic and international flight restrictions forced the operator to suspend all of its commercial services. Subsequently, last week, news broke that the company will lay off all of its staff at the end of April / early May. It confirmed that staff members will receive one month’s salary for each year that they have worked with the firm. Additionally, employees will receive payment for annual leave that has not been used, along with further month’s pay instead of notice pay. South Africa’s public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan signed a letter that was addressed to SAA’s unions. A deal was due to be finalized a few day ago. However, the involved parties now have another week to sort out underlying issues.
“We advise that the department agreed with Business Rescue Practitioners on a moratorium on the signing of the retrenchment (layoffs) agreements until Friday 1 May 2020,” the letter said, as reported by Reuters.
“As a result, the employees are not obliged to sign the collective agreement for the retrenchments for the period of the moratorium.”

South African Airways, founded on the 1st February 1934, was the state-owned flag carrier airline of South Africa. Its Headquarters was in Airways Park at O.R Tambo International Airport, the airline operated a hub-and-spoke network, linking over 40 local and international destinations across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania from its base at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, using a fleet of more than 40 aircraft. The carrier joined Star Alliance in April 2006 (2006-04), the first African carrier to sign with one of the three airline alliances.

As of March 2020, the South African Airways fleet consists of an all-Airbus fleet of the following aircraft:
South African Airways fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A319-100 7 25 95 120
Airbus A320-200 10 24 114 138
Airbus A330-200 6 36 186 222
Airbus A330-300 5 46 203 249
Airbus A340-300 7 38 215 253 2 stored
To be retired in 2021.
36 215 251
Airbus A340-600 4 42 275 317 2 stored
To be retired in 2021.
Airbus A350-900 4 30 309 339
28 298 326
Cargo fleet
Boeing 737-300F 2
Total 39

Story sourced from different news platforms and Wikipedia

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