The embattled state-owned airline, South African Airways (SAA), suffered another blow on Thursday when a major ticket retailer stopped selling tickets to fly on the airline. In addition, a travel insurer withdrew insolvency cover for tickets sold on SAA.

Flight Centre announced that it would not be selling tickets on SAA flights for the immediate future. Businesslive quoted Andrew Stark, the Flight Centre MD for Africa and the Middle East as saying: ‘Following mixed messages from the government about whether the airline will be bailed out and the decision from insurance companies to exclude SAA from their insolvency cover, we have had to make an immediate move to mitigate the risk to ourselves and our clients.’

It was reported that officials from the National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises had met to discuss the future of SAA. The airline reportedly needs R2 billion immediately to pay salaries and immediate costs. Banks are apparently willing to advance SAA the money but only if the loans are guaranteed by the National Treasury.

Solidarity, a trade union, has also brought an application for business rescue of SAA.

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