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Struggling SAA insists flight operations are continuing

South African Airways is maintaining operations for the time being, despite apparent increasing uncertainty over the ailing flag-carrier’s financing.

The airline says it is “aware” of local media reports suggesting the airline is on the verge of ceasing operations.

But it insists that flights to all destinations “continue as normal”. Johannesburg airport’s arrivals and departure information shows SAA services operating.

It acknowledges that the network might be subject to “amendments” to the flight schedule.

But SAA says it is “committed” to communicating “transparently” with its various stakeholders – including its customers – over the airline’s situation, particularly regarding significant operational changes.

SAA, which is undergoing a business rescue process, had been due to receive R2 billion in funding from the South African government as well as a furhter R2 billion from lenders. But the status of this funding programme is unclear.

Local media reports indicate that intense discussions have taken place over 18-19 January with respect to the carrier’s funding.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa insists that a capable nation must have state-owned companies which fulfil mandates “effectively”.

Ramaphosa says that companies that “require continual bail-outs – such as SAA – diminish the capacity of the state”.

“That is why a major focus of our work this year is to restore our [state-owned enterprises] to health,” he says, in a statement on 20 January.

“We will do this by appointing experienced and qualified boards and managers. We will be clarifying their mandates, and give them scope to execute those mandates.”