SAA working on 90-day turnaround plan

SAA plane. ( <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock</a>)
SAA plane. ( <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock</a>)

Johannesburg - National carrier SA Airways (SAA) has until March to implement a successful turnaround plan to profitability, it said on Tuesday.

"The deadline expires on 24 March and at that time you should ask me what routes have we stopped operating, whether we have issued a financial statement, whether an AGM has been held and what options on equity partnerships have we put on the table," acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout told journalists in Johannesburg.

The 90-day turnaround plan was supported by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and the newly constituted SAA board.

The loss-making carrier was facing solvency issues, a rapidly deteriorating competition position, ongoing governance weaknesses, and an inability to operate efficiently, said Bezuidenhout.

"The AGM has been deferred... we are in trouble as we stand. Nobody can turn a business around in 90 days. Our intention is to take steps to take the business on the road to recovery... the kind of steps we can measure."

SAA has not issued financial results or held an annual general meeting. It had relied on state funding, which Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene recently indicated would not be made available.

"The Treasury has advised there would be no capital injections to SAA and that we need to take steps to full recovery. We are pushing forward with every step of the plan," said Bezuidenhout.

"What we can hope for is a guarantee extension on debt."

He said a "war cabinet" had been established to bring the carrier back on track. The team met twice a week and reported weekly to the board.

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