South African Airways is working to find ways to roll over 9.2 billion rand ($642 million) of debt by March as the loss-making state-owned carrier works to make more routes profitable, Chief Executive Officer Vuyani Jarana said.
While gross profit margins were negative on most routes when he started a year ago, domestic and regional routes are now making money except for Entebbe in Uganda, he said in an interview on Johannesburg-based Talk Radio 702.
South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said last week that he favors shutting down the loss-making national airline and starting a new carrier to replace it. SAA is unlikely to attract an equity partner in its current state, and it’s doubtful the government will be able to sort it out, Mboweni said at an investment conference in New York on Thursday.
The ANC top brass have announced there are no plans to shut down South African Airways (SAA) but it will initiate discussions with its alliance partners to ensure steps are taken to address the problems besetting the state-owned airline.