African aviation powerhouse Ethiopian Airlines has offered the ailing South African Airways a way out.
South African Airways has been under business rescue and the airline according to the Department of Public Enterprises is looking evaluating offers by a number of equity partners.
“The DPE will continue to assess the 20 unsolicited express of interests from private sector funders, private equity investors and partners for a future restructured SAA,” reads the statement.
Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Tewolde GebreMariam said the airline is willing to enter into a joint venture with SAA and provide aircraft, maintenance services and pilots. However the airline will not provide any assistance in debt repayments that SAA are currently struggling with.
“We want to make it very easy for them to start the airline by providing airplanes, by providing expertise, pilots, technicians, and leadership.” GebreMariam added, “We don’t want to deal with the legacy issues; the debt, labour claims and so on because that is very difficult for us not only in terms of financial outlay but also in terms of managing the restructuring.”
For the greater part of this year SAA has been gradually returning aircraft back to their owners. According to local reports this has led to SAA remaining with a skeleton fleet of a single airbus A320 and a couple of A340s.
GebreMariam concluded that Ethiopian could provide more modern A350s and B787s in comparison with SAA’s A340 aircraft.
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