Gigaba: SAA asked for R10bn in bailout plan

Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) asked the government for R10bn as part of a recapitalisation plan aimed at returning the state-owned carrier to profit, according to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

The request was included in a one-year corporate plan submitted by the airline to the National Treasury in March, Gigaba said in a written reply to a question from the DA, without saying whether he would agree to it.

Any funds awarded by the state to SAA would come on top of this month’s R2.2bn injection to repay a loan by Standard Chartered.

The National Treasury has ordered SAA to submit a turnaround plan that lays out steps toward a recovery before it commits to a further rescue deal. It was forced into covering the Standard Chartered loan first after the London-based lender refused to extend a repayment deadline before the end of June.

READ: Gigaba's action plan lacks substance

The government is evaluating assets it could sell to pay for the bailout, Gigaba said earlier this month.

SAA hasn’t made a profit since 2011 and has previously survived on R19.1bn of state-backed guarantees. The airline has been without a permanent chief executive officer since 2015 and the cabinet is considering Vodacom executive Vuyani Jarana for the role, a person familiar with the matter said this month.

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