According to the carrier’s Chief Executive Officer, Vuyani Jarana, the turnaround plan is designed to ease the company’s dependency on the government, which last year approved a bailout to swerve a default on debt owed to Citigroup Inc.
Vuyani Jarana, who took the helm of the loss-making airline in November, told lawmakers in the southern African nation that the state-owned airline would struggle to meet 9.2 billion rand in debt payments due March 2019. He said the government is in talks to find a private-equity partner for the airline.
The National Treasury earlier this year said that SAA needs an equity partner to pump money into the company to address a liquidity crisis and to help with the implementation of a turnaround plan.
The government has transferred more than 5 billion rand to the airline last year to avoid it defaulting on debt owed to Citigroup Inc.
Jarana, a former executive at mobile-network operator Vodacom Group Ltd., is SAA’s first permanent head since 2015.
The carrier, which has not generated a profit since 2011, is regularly cited by ratings agencies as a drain on the government purse.