SAA Technical Keen To Avoid Skills Loss In Restructuring Talks

SAA Technical has been impacted by non-payment from its SAA affiliate and low-cost carrier subsidiary Mango.
Credit: SAA Technical

South African Airways (SAA) is aiming to make headway with restructuring talks at maintenance subsidiary SAA Technical before the end of August, while maintaining support for its downsized operation.

SAA was in business rescue – the South African equivalent of administration - from December 2019 until late April 2021. SAA Technical was not included in that process, but it has been impacted by non-payment from SAA and its low-cost carrier Mango, which are both SAA Group companies.

Now, following its emergence from business rescue, SAA has begun Section 189 redundancy consultations with unions at SAA Technical. 

SAA interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said it is currently difficult to tell how many jobs could ultimately be lost at SAA Technical.

“The conversation with labour is continuing. And, as soon as that conversation comes to an end, we will be able to provide an exact number of jobs that will be lost. But the key thing is that we're doing our utmost best to make sure that the impact on jobs is not as negative as is sometimes spoken about. We're trying to make sure that we minimize the impact on jobs,” Kgokolo said, July 26, during a TV interview with eNews Channel Africa (eNCA).

“We believe that in the next month, August, it should be much clearer and we should be able to bring it [the talks] to an end.”

Kgokolo said he is being “very careful” not to lose core skills during the SAA Technical restructuring. 

“We are very cautious, very strategic about that. But at this stage, the assessment is that SAA Technical will still be functional, in terms of servicing our aircraft. Remember, we’re also not bringing [back] the whole fleet that we had before, so we are much smaller,” he said.

SAA is expecting to have its air operator’s certificate (AOC) restored around July 30. The airline plans to relaunch with about eight aircraft, with two more scheduled to arrive in mid-August. 

Cargo flights will resume first, followed by scheduled passenger operations, which have been suspended since mid-April 2020. A restart date will be announced over the coming days.

Victoria Moores

Victoria Moores joined Air Transport World as our London-based European Editor/Bureau Chief on 18 June 2012. Victoria has nearly 20 years’ aviation industry experience, spanning airline ground operations, analytical, journalism and communications roles.