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By unknown | Sep 29, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

SA AIRWAYS has reported a surprise profit for the year ending March 2009 - due to fundamental restructuring.

SA AIRWAYS has reported a surprise profit for the year ending March 2009 - due to fundamental restructuring.

Net profit came in at R398million against a net loss after restructuring costs of R1,085billion previously, the airline said.

The current year net profit, however, included a credit of R407million attributable to the net reversal of the 2004 impairment of pre-delivery payments (PDPs) paid to Airbus on the A320 purchase, the airline explained.

"The PDPs were impaired at the time because the deal was thought to have been cancelled," SAA said.

Agreement had since been reached with Airbus to reinstate the deal under more favourable terms, SAA said.

"SAA delivered a net profit for the year despite unprecedented fuel prices, associated hedging losses and the onset in the second half of the worst recession since 1929," acting chief executive Chris Smyth told the results presentation.

"You must be surprised just as we were surprised," Smyth said.

Critically the airline posted a significant turnaround at operating level, recording an operating profit of R1,9billion against a small operating loss of R72million the previous year, he noted.

"The financial results were achieved despite the industry having entered into a cyclical downturn in mid 2008.

"This was partly as a result of the global economic downturn which affected all airlines, but also due to the oil price hitting a historic peak of $147 last year."

He noted that airlines around the globe were hard hit, with IATA estimating that the industry would lose $15billion in 2009.

Smyth said SAA had been fortunate to begin its restructuring in 2007.

"At the time the airline industry was at a buoyant high."

In the first phase of restructuring which had just ended, the focus had been largely on cutting costs and improved revenue generation, he said.

The next phase would focus on improving customer service, the operational performance and ensuring the programme remained in place and was sustainable, he noted. - Sapa


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