South African Airways’ (SAA) net loss more than trebled to R5.6 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, Chief Executive Vuyani Jarana said, as officials mapped out a turn-around strategy for the struggling state airline.
SAA, which has not generated profit since 2011, is regularly cited by ratings agencies as a drain on the government’s purse. It made a loss of R1.5 billion in 2015/16.
Jarana told a news conference on Thursday that SAA expected to break even by 2021 and that it was in talks with unions about reducing staff costs.
Selling a stake in the airline to an equity partner – a long-held plan which was discussed as far back as 2016 – was about two years away, he added.
This week the head of the Treasury said selling 49% of SAA was a theoretical example of how the government could narrow the budget deficit.
Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene told the same news conference that the turnaround strategy would include a review of the airline’s fleet and loss-making routes. ($1 = 11.8008 rand)