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Unemployment Looms as South African State Airline Reveals Could Cut More than 900 Jobs

South Africa’s struggling state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) could cut more than 900 jobs as it restructures to stem severe financial losses

In a statement, SAA said it had started consultations with its more than 5,000 staff and was talking to labor unions.

The logo of South African Airways (SAA) is seen on an aircraft at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The airline has not made an annual profit since 2011 and is grappling with severe funding difficulties and an inefficient and aging fleet of airplanes.

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“We urgently need to address the ongoing loss-making position that has subsisted over the past years. That is why we are undergoing a restructuring,” said SAA acting-Chief Executive Zuks Ramasia.

“No final decision will be taken until the consultation process is concluded. However, it is estimated that approximately 944 employees may be affected.”

In a dramatic fall from grace over the past decade, SAA has lost its place as Africa’s biggest airline and a symbol of patriotic pride to become a source of frustration for taxpayers.

South African officials have been searching for an investor to take a stake in the airline, but their efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

Analysts have long said its workforce should be cut to bring it in line with regional competitors.

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