Straighten up and fly right

Staff Writer | Jun 06, 2019
The South African Airways Pilots Association (SAAPA) says it is ‘deeply troubled’ at reports that departing South African Airways (SAA) CEO Vuyani Jarana’s turn-around plan ‘was sabotaged internally and externally’.

Don’t replace Jarana with a political appointee with no airline experience – this is the advice SAA pilots have delivered to the government. 

SAAPA said in a statement: ‘Given the tight margins that airlines operate in, SAA needs a new CEO with an unrivalled understanding of the industry. It is imperative that the SAA Board moves forward with the appointment of a fearless, non political, independent CEO with a strong track record in the aviation sector. 

‘The last thing we need is a political appointee with no airline experience. When Rome is burning, one needs the best firefighters one can get.’

The organisation said Jarana ‘did his best to turn SAA around under incredibly difficult circumstances’, adding that it had been ‘supportive of his integrity, commitment and vision to right-size SAA and make it fit for purpose’. 

SAAPA said it was ‘deeply troubled at reports that the CEO’s turn-around plan was sabotaged internally and externally. In the end, the CEO was hobbled by inflexible and restrictive government policy as well as the board and shareholder taking active roles in executive decision making. This was exacerbated by the SAA executive structure and an executive management team that had remained mostly unchanged since the Dudu Myeni era.’

Jarana’s resignation was ‘a blow to the airline’, which SAAPA saw as ‘an opportunity for the shareholder to learn from these mistakes’. 

‘Besides a proven track record and passion for aviation, the incoming CEO will need the support of the executive team. We cannot have another CEO fatally undermined by a lack lustre management team,’ SAAPA said. 


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