Ethiopian Airlines Group could offer support to SAA

Business

Johannesburg – Ethiopian Airlines Group is among companies in talks with South Africa’s government about potentially offering support to the country’s insolvent state airline.

Africa’s biggest carrier is considering ways to help bankrupt South African Airways fly again after more than five months of dormancy, said people close to the matter, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. Taking a stake in the carrier is one of the options under discussion though negotiations are ongoing and an agreement may not be reached.

According to a rescue plan compiled by administrators and back by both the state and labour groups, South Africa needs to raise more than R10-billion to revive SAA.

However, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has said the funds should come from the private sources, committing only to help “monitise” the required amount.  SAA was placed under business rescue in December 2019, before the coronavirus crisis hit.

Ethiopian Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebre Mariam said talks have taken place in the past but were put on hold. He referred questions about the current situation to Abel Alemu, the airline’s regional manager for Southern Africa, who didn’t immediately comment.

A spokesperson for SAA’s administrators declined to comment.

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