More unsolicited interest shown by private sector funders for 'new SAA'

24 August 2020 - 12:49
Private sector funders and partners are showing a keen interest in a new South African Airways, according to the department of public enterprises.
Image: SAA Private sector funders and partners are showing a keen interest in a new South African Airways, according to the department of public enterprises.

The government has received more unsolicited expressions of interest from private sector funders, private equity investors and partners for a future restructured SAA and its subsidiaries.

That was the word from the department of public enterprises (DPE) on Monday.

Spokesperson Sam Mkokeli said that by the beginning of August the government, through the department, had received more than 10 unsolicited enquiries  for SAA and its subsidiaries Air Chefs, SAA Technical and Mango Airlines.

“The DPE welcomes the attraction of a mix of local and international investor groups to provide the new airline with technical, financial and operational expertise to ensure significant South African ownership while diversifying the investor base,” said Mkokeli.

He said as the sole shareholder on behalf of government, the department had been  assessing interest shown by potential strategic equity partners (SEPs) as part of the implementation of the business rescue plan, published at the end of June.

The department believes that such investments in the airline and its subsidiaries will help support key economic sectors, including tourism, and solidify SA as an African gateway to international markets, he said.

“Such partnerships will also improve scale and scope and ensure continuity of value creation to the South African economy and long-term sustainability of the aviation industry managed by competent, competitive and skilled personnel who possess strategic and technical capabilities which are critical to the success of the new carrier.

Mkokeli said while maintaining a certain level of ownership of the new carrier, the government, through the department of public enterprises, would like to see the following characteristics of the new airline as envisaged in the new business rescue plan:

• An efficient and modern aircraft fleet, with hybrid density options acquired at competitive rates, resulting in cost efficiency;

• An offering with the right routes, at the right times and at competitive prices;

• A network structure that allows for connectivity at hubs, while maintaining elevated aircraft use; 

• Connecting Africa to world economic hubs while maintaining diplomatic connectivity;

• A right-sized and motivated workforce;

• A customer-centric airline designed to be lean, technology savvy, digitally native and agile to service all market segments;

• Appointment of a smaller, effective, reinforced and empowered board of directors; and

• A centralised, single commercial team leading the fleet, network, pricing, revenue management, product, services, loyalty programme, sales and marketing for the new airline.