The state capture inquiry heard in earlier testimony how the Gupta family tried to pressurise politicians to drop the lucrative route and instead award it to Jet Airways.
Carolus‚ who served as board chair between 2009 and 2012 under public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan and her successor Gigaba‚ said on Thursday that SAA had continually shunned meeting with Jet Airways over the lucrative route until Gigaba came into office.
Testifying at the state capture inquiry‚ Carolus said Jet Airways went on an “aggressive campaign” against SAA over the flight route.
“The matter of the Mumbai route was never initiated by us with Hogan initially. One is open to all kinds of options always and collaborations with other airlines. Having four flights a week was not optimal. We wanted a flight every day between Mumbai and Johannesburg‚” Carolus said.
“Somewhere along the line‚ we found that Jet Airways was proposing that SAA should drop the route. It was a strange request. We decide we’re not going to do it. We were happy to collaborate but they were not going to do it... They went on an aggressive campaign against SAA.”
Carolus said she received several calls from Jet Airways requesting a meeting between her and the airline’s CEO‚ Naresh Goyal.
“Somebody said to me that the president of Jet Airways was not going to escalate the matter to the minister. I called Hogan and said there is this matter of the Mumbai route and Jet Airways. She said she’s aware of it‚ and that there have been some efforts around it‚” Carolus said.