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Mboweni Hints At Possible Salvage Plan For SAA

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has hinted at a possible plan to salvage South African Airways (SAA).

He was responding to questions from members of Parliament’s finance committees during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Mboweni was quizzed about plans to create a new airline. SAA is in business rescue, but the government and trade unions have been in talks about establishing a new national carrier, which is financially viable.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told the committees that he would rather leave it to his Public Enterprises colleague, Minister Pravin Gordhan, to answer questions about South African Airways.

Gordhan is expected to update Parliament’s Public Enterprises committees on state-owned companies, including SAA, during a joint meeting on Wednesday.

Mboweni today, however, gave a hint to MPs about what a plan to salvage SAA could look like.

“Members could just look at the experience of Swissair, which collapsed and from its ashes, emerged Swiss International [Air Lines]. So you can do a basic desktop research and analysis of that [and] that might give you some clues about the likely direction where we might be going.”

Before it went bankrupt, Swissair was once one of the world’s most prestigious airlines and a national icon for Switzerland.

Swiss International was established in 2002 after an equity-based alliance and acquisition strategy that involved buying stakes in other carriers with financial difficulties.