South Africa agrees to privatise troubled SAA airline

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’s announced Friday would sell a majority stake in cash-strapped flag carrier SAA to a consortium that includes operator of a local budget airline.

airline, which is emerging a rescue plan, will effectively be privatised as investors will a majority stake.

“Having evaluated current environment, has agreed to (strategic equity partner) owning of 51 per cent of shareholding and 49 per cent,” Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in an online media conference.

The consortium includes Harith General Partners, an investor in African infrastructure and airports, and airline management firm Global Airways, an aircraft leasing firm which recently launched local budget airline LIFT.

“With this partnership, we believe we are closer to achieving the important objective of having a sustainable national airline,” he added.

“The new SAA will not be dependent on ” the government.

SAA, one of the continent’s largest airlines, placed under a -approved rescue plan in December 2019 in an effort to save collapse.

The airline, ’s second-largest after Ethiopian Airlines, had not posted a profit since 2011 and survived for years on bailouts.

A symbol of the mismanagement of -owned enterprises that characterised ex- Jacob Zuma’s reign, the airline forced to abandon many routes even before the Covid-19 pandemic.