New SAA set to relaunch in January 2021

SAA is set to relaunch in January 2021, according to a report from the Sunday Times.

The report stated that the government is working with private sector investors for the relaunch – and that it had received “more than 10 unsolicited offers” to partner with SAA.

These interested investors are also exploring potential integrations of SAA and its subsidiaries, including SAA Technical and Mango.

It was reported by Bloomberg earlier this week that the government has started talks with investors who were interested in buying stakes in SAA.

SAA needs R10 billion in funding to take off again, and the investor negotiations are currently being handled by Rand Merchant Bank.

Ethiopian Airlines Group, Africa’s largest and only consistently profitable carrier, has previously said it also may be interested in investing in SAA.


The relaunched SAA will look very different to the previous version of the national carrier.

Voluntary severance packages have been offered to employees in a bid to bring staff numbers down, and only 1,000 employees will remain to start the new airline.

This will see 2,700 SAA staff lose their jobs, including a large number of its pilots.

As part of the restructuring, SAA’s current complement of 625 pilots will be cut to 88.

It has also been reported that equal employment metrics will be more important than seniority for determining which pilots will be retained at the new SAA.

This is to address concerns from sectors players that the majority of pilots and cabin crew in the local aviation sector are white.

The government has said it will ensure the new SAA offers the right routes at the right times, and at competitive prices, when it takes to the skies again.

Now read: SAA business rescue stalls due to funding problems

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New SAA set to relaunch in January 2021