JOHANNESBURG-  The South African government has promised to inject R5 billion ($400 million) to help the struggling state airline, so the SAA can meet its urgent financial obligations said the CEO of South African Airways Vuyani Jarana.

The state airline, SAA has not generated profit since 2011, SAA has already received state guarantees of nearly $20 billion, they have been using this money to pay off debts and help develop a turnaround plan for the airline.

Jarana speaking to Reuters in a interview said, “Government has committed to inject another R5 billion into SAA. Part of that R5 billion we will repay some of the creditors, suppliers, then the balance will support us for working capital until around October/November.”

The Treasury has said they are going to sick to their normal budgetary process, which also seek cabinet approval.

Jarana said, “The outcome of this process is expected to be finalised in time for the 2018 MTBPS (Medium Term Budget Policy Statement).”

“If Treasury needs a certain period of time to do this, lets say up to September, between now and then, we are negotiating with lenders to give us a bridging facility on the back of that commitment,”

The airline will take any steps to help rebuild the airline, including job cuts, “Whether it’s pilots, cabin crew, administration, we are going to rationalise the workforce. It’s an unavoidable thing. We have been talking to trade unions about how we work together,” Jarana said.

Jarana added,“The first priority for me is job preservation, how do you find alternative jobs for people as a starting point before you go into the hard issues of retrenchments.”

Photo Credit- Gallo Images / Rapport / Elizabeth Sejake

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