South African Airways needs government loan guarantee or risks liquidation: board member

This post was originally published on this site

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African Airways (SAA) needs a government guarantee to help it secure bank funding otherwise the carrier is at risk of entering liquidation, board member Martin Kingston said on Wednesday, as a crippling strike enters its sixth day.

The cash-strapped airline has canceled hundreds of flights since the strike began on Friday, with the stoppage initially costing 50 million rand ($3.36 million) per day, though that figure has come down as some flights have resumed.

Speaking in an interview on news channel SABC, Kingston said that SAA’s dire financial situation meant it was in no position to increase its wage offer to striking unions, and the action was only making the state-owned airline’s position more perilous.

“At the moment, Rome is burning. We don’t have the time or the luxury to consider industrial action,” Kingston said.

“Unless we are able to secure guarantees from national treasury – and we’re in discussions with them as you and I speak – then the board will have to recommend to government that actually it be placed in liquidation,” he said.

“We need to be confident that we have the financial wherewithal to trade for the next 12 months on a solvent basis. That is not currently the case.”

The Department of Public Enterprises said on Wednesday there was no more money in public coffers for SAA, with multiple bailouts for the airline and other ailing state-run firms becoming a “moral hazard”.

Talks between SAA and the two unions that called the strike broke down on Wednesday evening, according to a spokeswoman, who said they could not accept the current wage offer and would try and escalate the action.

“For us, the strike continues,” Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, spokeswoman for the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA), which called the strike alongside the South African Cabin Crew Association, also told SABC.

The unions on Sunday said they would pursue a secondary strike in other airlines and organizations across the industry, to shut down the aviation sector and get SAA to meet their demands. They will hold a news briefing at 0730 GMT on Wednesday.

Kingston said it will become apparent in the next month whether SAA can trade its way out of the current situation.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Add Comment