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Mango denies SAA provided cheap plane leases

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Johannesburg - Mango Airlines leased planes from South African Airways SOC at market-related rates, its chief executive officer said, denying a statement by the budget carrier’s state-owned parent that it provided aircraft at a “substantially discounted cost.”

“It’s outright, straightforward, not true,” Nico Bezuidenhout, 39, said in an interview. Mango pays market-related lease rates and since 2010 has negotiated new deals directly with leasing companies, he said.

SAA said on June 11 it sub-leased Mango all 10 of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft at a discounted cost while paying the leasing company the market rate, an arrangement that would potentially have given the budget carrier an advantage in SA's highly competitive market. The move was a “necessary investment” to support the low-cost entity, SAA said.

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