SAA to sell nine airplanes as business rescue process begins

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While SAA claims in a report its fleet of A340-300 aircrafts is worth R2.153 billion, the actual market value may be closer to 335 million.

The sale of nine of South African Airways’ (SAA) commercial aircrafts, 15 of its spare engines and four auxiliary power units for use on a large airliner has been advertised on the government tender board since 10 January.

This marks the beginning of the process of business rescue for the struggling airline, overseen by Les Matuson.

Five A340-300 and four A340-600 aircrafts are being sold as they are reportedly too expensive to run.

The planes will either be bought by other commercial carriers or for spare parts.

It is unclear how much the national carrier is asking for the plans.

The airline’s annual report said its A340-300 fleet was worth R2,153 billion, but Daily Maverick reports that its market value is closer to R335 million.

The value of the A340-600s is not listed.

In December last year, it was announced that that SAA would be placed in urgent voluntary business rescue.

President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered this be done in a leaked official letter, signed by secretary of the cabinet Cassius Lubisi (see below to read), due to the “dire situation” at the national airline.

The president sees this as “the only viable route open to the government to avoid an uncontrolled implosion” of SAA.

By being placed in business rescue, this would save the airline from being liquidated by its creditors.

“We remain seized with the SAA crisis and will keep members of the executive informed at all material times,” the letter reportedly reads.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed that the letter was legitimate and was meant only for cabinet members and their deputies. She expressed concern to TimesLIVE that the news had entered the public domain in this way.

The earlier proposed restructuring of SAA has been abandoned.

Financial statements showing the true state of affairs at SAA, which the auditor-general has not even seen, will need to be made available, it was reported last week.

Moneyweb reported that the attempt by trade union Solidarity to save SAA by applying for it to be placed in business rescue would most probably ultimately fail to prevent the liquidation of the indebted airline.

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