SAA 'is on verge of bankruptcy'

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  • AMcWhirter

    I imagine this news will not come as a surprise to readers who regularly visit South Africa.

    But ‘matters may improve by October but only if it [SAA] gets a govt bailout of Rand 792 million Rand (GBP45 million).’


    SAA has been on the verge of bankruptcy since the ANC, who are a bunch of thugs, took over and started plundering state assets and using them purely for their own convenience, providing free transport and jobs for their boys and girls.

    It has been operating without effective management, just political (BEE) appointments one after another, people with no track record of successfully running any business, let alone an airline, whose only interest was enriching themselves whilst plundering state coffers – which of course is taxpayers’ money.

    South Africa has a very narrow tax base, one of the narrowest in the world, and the highest taxpayers are mostly whites, in fairness because they are the most affluent (apart from Zuma, the Guptas, and their henchmen, whose contributions to the fiscus are probably a state secret.)

    SAA has survived on government ‘guarantees’ which ultimately become loans, a big one has just been paid. They have today appointed yet another CEO. I am not holding my breath that he will be any better than his predecessors.

    It is tragic how what used to be one of the world’s finest airlines (and Africa’s best, but that from a pretty low base) has turned into a loss making charade supported by white taxpayers.

    (No doubt someone will have a go at me for being ‘racist’ in stating the above. That’s fine. I will still sleep soundly!)


    capetonianm +1

    Sadly, this does appear to sum up what has been going on for some time. They will get bailed out again as usual.


    Inconvenient, unpleasant, but true. The crews still do their best, but the days of “Lucky You, in the Blue”, as SAA’s old ads used to sing, are over.

    Thankfully Comair, BA’s local franchise, is a very good airline, by any standard. Even Kulula, their low cost subsidiary, offers better service than anything that Willie Walsh is tossing at his customers nowadays. Their curiously named “Slow” lounges are almost on a par with Emirates.

    With Air Namibia and Air Botswana to complement Comair, I find flying in Southern Africa to be a pleasure compared with Europe or the US.

    LX, TK, EK et al offer flights to JNB, DUR and CPT. Who needs SAA anymore?


    A pity that with Mandela it seemed that South Africa could buck the trend…Zuma et al would seem to have ruined that possibility…African Corruption Rules…


    @Maxgeorge I believe that the excellent Slow lounges are owned by FNB Bank and are there for their premium customers. BA just pays an entry fee to FNB for their passenger use. Everybody is very happy!
    You are so right…Air Namibia is a superb “old-fashioned” airline.

    One has to wonder if the reason BA is going to double-daily A380 on the JNB is the expectation of SAA failure….


    Possibly, openfly. But South Africa is also one of BA’s most profitable destinations. Yield (especially in Y) is high.


    Openfly I suspect BA going double daily is to help them towards their failure.
    BA feel that A380 is a differentiater for passengers and allocating this provides a good reason not to fly SAA.

    Having said that their (SAA’s) new J class looks good and I like A330/A340 for their economy seating, but the A380 is a nice aircraft that will help allure some I am sure.


    We have just been booking about 30 flights to Johannesburg, both from the UK (3 airports) and intra-Africa (Kenya, Nigeria). For none of these flights was SAA anything like price competitive…..


    @sparkyflyer I also like the SAA premium product. Onboard they are good, with lovely crews, for whom I have a lot of sympathy. I HATE the BA A380 with a vengeance! The crew noise from the First/Club galleys is intolerable…silence on SAA.
    Sadly the Etihad input into SAA has failed. There must be somebody out there who is not corrupt who can turn SAA back into a respectable profitable airline…but I doubt it.


    SAA have less idea of revenue management and profitability than a corner shop selling vegetables. They used to have a team of experts, professionals, with whom I was proud to work. The thinking now is that they will make more profit by putting the fares up. The fact that they are giving away seats doesn’t seem to ring any warning bells.

    I sometimes check the loads on SAA flights, they often go out with 30-40% capacity on some routes. Even on London routes when BA send out two full aircraft, 747 and 388, SAA often can’t fill two smaller ones.

    There must be somebody out there who is not corrupt who can turn SAA back into a respectable profitable airline…but I doubt it.

    Undoubtedly there are people who could fill the roles, but they won’t get top jobs with any parastatal unless they are up the ANC’s backside, and that, by definition, means they are corrupt.


    LIVE: SAA lists PIC as possible funder of R6bn in 2018

    Very little of this makes encouraging reading.


    I believe SAA were buying new aircraft a few years ago from Airbus. Then someone discovered SAA were paying about 50% more than other airlines for the same aircraft. A small public outcry followed and the order was quickly and quietly cancelled. We must not forget however that it takes two to tango, and payers of kickbacks are just as corrupt as the receivers!

    I think the SAA business product is superior to BA by a mile, but it’s true they are less competitive than other airlines.
    I use them when flying CPT – JNB (or vv) and the business on the 330/340 is superb. I never use them flying JNB – George as SAA is usually the double, you get bussed to the plane and cannot use the SAA lounge as despite it being an SAA issued ticket, flight number and booked through the SAA website, they say SA Express is not part of Star Alliance so despite arriving in First with Swiss I cannot use the lounge, but worse, they often cancel the flight.

    Hence I use Kulula where I have to pay extra for my baggage (over 1 piece) but it’s still much cheaper and more importantly they are reliable.


    This news does make me rather sad. I don’t have a clue about South African politics, but I can’t help wondering why SAA has been put in this position. It can’t be in the interest of either the ANC or South Africa’s reputation in Africa and the wider world.

    And I’m mildly curious, maybe LP or capetonianm can answer, but how is it that Kenya, a country known for loving a backhander or three can have a national carrier that is growing into a respected world airline ?

    On a personal note, SAA will always have a wee place in my nostalgic heart. One of my first memories of flying was in an EAA VC10 at LHR, looking out my window and seeing a 707 with SAA on it, adorned in a strange language parked next to us. My first lesson in compass points!!!
    And in later life, sitting in the Diamond lounge in T2 gazing out the window, occasionally and wistfully wishing I was boarding either of the 2 SAA’s jumbos parked up opposite, rather than short hopping it back to a wet , windy and dreich Edinburgh winter.


    So much British Empire nostalgia on this forum …
    That’s very cute !

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