South African Airways’ new interim CEO Thomas Kokoro said the embarrassed state-owned airline has begun official talks to resume operations.
In a SABC interview on Monday (April 19th), Kgokolo said the airline will soon begin the process of retraining pilots and ensuring that compliance requirements are met.
The SAA has been unprofitable for almost a decade, survived state bailouts and government debt guarantees, and was put under control a year ago.
The aircraft carrier has been dormant since March 2020, when the fleet ran aground due to a travel ban to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus.
However, Kgokolo said the business rescue process was “completed” and identified major financial and operational challenges for the airline.
He added that many costs were reduced, including employee costs due to the reduction. This means that new airlines will be significantly “slim”.
However, Kgokolo acknowledged the difficulty of resuming airlines during a pandemic, causing immense damage to the airline sector.
“In our view, it’s much smaller than before, so we’ll spend a lot of time as part of our reboot plan to consider operational efficiency from a cost perspective.
“We will also consider the types of aircraft we will use in the future to ensure fuel efficiency, and decent marketing to enable loyal customers to use us again when they return online. Start the campaign.
Kgokolo said this reboot wasn’t easy and the new SAA wouldn’t work as it did before.
He said some of the immediate concerns that the reboot plan addresses are:
- Training for pilots who haven’t flown in a while.
- The airline has a proper compliance certificate for flight.
- From a marketing perspective, allow clients to know that the airline is reopening.
- Address that corporate compliance issue.
- Filling vacancies left by executives who left the airline during the business rescue process.
“New SAA” will resume operation
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