Turbulence ahead for new-look SAA as BRPs give government an ultimatum

Johannesburg – Plans for the new-look SAA could be headed for more turbulence as business rescue practitioners (BRPs) gave the government until next week to fund the rescue process or face liquidation.

SAA business rescuers Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana on Thursday warned that the government had until next week to determine whether to continue with rescuing the airline as its existing funds were near depletion.

“The remaining portion of the short-term funding required by the company has not yet been made available to the company,” the rescuers said.

“The BRPs have been engaging tirelessly with the government to ensure that this funding is made available to the company timeously.”

The national carrier has been finalising the termination of 33 of the 40 aircraft leases by the end of September to ensure that it does not have overly burdensome and unsuitable contracts.

According to the rescue plan, the airline requires R10-billion in short, medium and long-term funding for it to fly again.

Though the government has advanced around R9.3billion for the repayment of SAA’s various lenders so far, the remaining portion of the short-term funding has not come.

The rescuers said the government had continued to express its commitment to making this funding available.

“The availability of the requisite funding to the company during the course of next week will determine whether the business rescue proceedings can continue,” they said.

The rescuers said they would convene a meeting of creditors next Friday about the proposed way forward if they were not satisfied that enough progress was being made for the timeous  advancing of the funding.

Department of Public Enterprises spokesperson Sam Mkokeli said a decision on the resources of funding will be announced soon.

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