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Can Africa’s Most Successful Airline Help South Africa’s?

Ethiopian Airlines is in talks over possible involvement in the rescue of flagship carrier South African Airways (SAA). SAA hasn’t made a profit since 2011 and has been under a form of bankruptcy protection since late last year. Creditors have approved a restructuring plan, but the government needs to find at least $580 million of funding for it to work. “Some discussion is taking place between ET and the South African Public Enterprises Ministry,” Tewolde Gebremariam said, “but it is at a very initial level and part of a general overview of pan-African cooperation in the aviation world between ET and SAA.” ET is Ethiopian Airlines’ International Air Transport Association (IATA) code. Officials have said they have received unsolicited interest in SAA but have revealed few details about that interest. SAA hasn’t flown commercial passenger flights since March, when the government imposed a strict lockdown to contain the coronavirus. Ethiopian Airlines lost $1 billion in revenue from January to September because of the coronavirus outbreak, the airline said on Friday.