On Thursday, Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that South African Airways (SAA), SA Express and Mango will merge to help the company transition into a more profitable phase.

During a media briefing, Gordhan noted that all three airlines fly to the same destination so it would make the most sense to rationalise the routes.

“Bringing the airlines together and rationalising their routes and important. Rationalising the kind of aircraft needed at a particular time and day – that’s the experience we’re beginning to learn from airlines around the world. It’s that synergy and savings. Our net guess is that by putting the airlines together, we can go through a transition period where there are going to be difficulties.

“If you have something dysfunctional and (you) try to sell it, you will get little for it. The real challenge is putting the right people in the right places both on boards and management teams, and having the right oversight,” he said.

An announcement was also made about the appointment of a new SA Express board, which will be chaired by Mmakeaya Magoro Tryphosa Ramano.

National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane said SAA requires a R5-billion cash injection in the current financial year to meet its financial obligations.

He added that the money would not come from government since they had already pumped R20-billion into the state-owned enterprise.

To ward off the bad debt, Mogajane said the National Treasury would be willing to sell a stake in the airline to a private equity party.


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