SA Express disputes amount owed in liquidation application

Cape Town - State-owned airline SA Express intends to oppose an application for liquidation brought against it in the Gauteng High Court, acting CEO Victor Xaba told Fin24 on Friday afternoon.

He said the matter relates to chartered aircraft services. "It has been an ongoing dispute and now the legal process has to be followed," Xaba explained.

Solenta Aviation brought an application for liquidation in a Gauteng High Court against SA Express for the payment of a debt of R87.3m, Xaba confirmed. He said SA Express does not dispute that it has an outstanding debt owed to Solenta Aviation, but he emphasised that the airline disputes the amount (quantum) due.

READ: SAA bailout is ‘fiscally neutral’ – Gigaba

Solenta Aviation is a specialised commercial aviation company offering, among other services, aircraft leasing, maintenance support and training. The company was formed in 2000 and its maintenance base is at the OR Tambo Airport.

Horacio Pereira, financial director of Solenta Aviation's sister company Solenta Aviation Workshop, told Fin24 on Friday afternoon that he cannot comment on the case as the matter is sub judice. According to Pereira he was just standing in for Solenta Aviation's financial director. Solenta's CEO is currently overseas.

Xaba told Fin24 that SA Express is consulting with legal counsel and it still hopes to find a solution without having to take the matter to court. He said he wanted to give the assurance that SA Express can pay its debts.

Last weekend Fin24 reported that state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) received yet another lifeline from Treasury, this time about R2.207bn for the embattled state-owned carrier to repay its loan to Standard Chartered Bank.

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