Johannesburg - The South African Airways (SAA) has denied reports that acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout will be replaced by a new acting CEO soon.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali was responding to a report in the Business Day on Friday, with allegations that SAA's general manager of operations Zukiswa Ramasia is expected to become the airline's new acting CEO soon.
Bezuidenhout is the current acting CEO, after he took over in November last year when Monwabisi Kalawe was suspended suddenly.
"Baseless rumour mongering" about SAA has been
"a pandemic in the media" for several years, Tlali said in a statement on Friday.
"SAA remains focused on turning around the business and Mr Bezuidenhout’s interim leadership has been critical in returning SAA to relative stability. He remains committed to the SAA group and this is fully recognised by the shareholders, the board, his management colleagues, staff and key stakeholders," said Tlali.
Tlali emphasised that SAA issued an update on Friday on "the substantial progress that has been made during the first quarter after the successful implementation of the 90 day action plan".
According to the update "SAA continues to drive implementation of its long-term turnaround strategy across the business. While commercially the airline has adjusted capacity against declining demand, 81% aggregate load factors marked the first quarter of the 2015/2016 fiscal year".
SAA said the business has reduced operating costs by 14%. The airline also introduced a Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi route in March and by beginning August will introduce an Accra to Washington route. Both these new routes are deemed by SAA to be commercially viable.
"The positive impact of improvement opportunities and efficiencies in our network should realise a positive impact of R 2.5bn in annualised earnings,” according to Tlali.
Bezuidenhout pointed out that operationally, SAA has been ranked amongst the best airlines in the world that operate in excess of 10 000 flights monthly for its on-time performance since March this year.
He said the business is also commercially energised, with a particular focus on Africa.
“Aviation has the potential to impact the continental economy similar to the mobile telephony revolution of the early 2000s. Africa’s economic growth has been relatively stable over the past decade and, with consistent market liberalisation and national governance improvements, confidence in Africa’s great potential and positive sentiment continues to grow,” said Bezuidenhout.
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