South African opposition scorns SAA rescue plan

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South Africa's political opposition has expressed scepticism over the proposed turnaround strategy for South African Airways, criticising the lack of detail disclosed in the newly-unveiled plan.

Minister for public enterprises Malusi Gigaba presented the plan on 10 September. It includes integrating South African Airways with regional operator SA Express and low-cost carrier Mango under a holding company.

But shadow minister Natasha Michael, of the opposition Democratic Alliance, says the plan "does not instil confidence that the public carrier will be stabilised", adding that the latest proposal is the ninth turnaround plan to be put forward in 13 years.

She says Gigaba's presentation "failed to provide clarity on critical matters" including the cost of the proposal, details on route cuts, the impact on jobs, and the extent to which the three airlines would be integrated or merged.

"I will be submitting parliamentary questions to gain clarity on the funding of the new plan and these other matters," she adds.

South African Airways, says Michael, "must be privatised" to ease the "burden" it puts on public funds. But after the minister's presentation, she says: "It appears that the [airline] will continue flying around in circles with no end in sight."