WATCH | SAA resumes flights after bankruptcy

It's a big day for South African Airways. After being grounded for a year and a half, the first flight is expected to take off a little later this morning. eNCA's Heidi Giokos is at OR Tambo International Airport with the latest. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's embattled national airline on Thursday flew its first plane since March 2020 after emerging from bankruptcy proceedings.

 

 

It's a big day for South African Airways. After being grounded for a year and a half, the first flight is expected to take off a little later this morning. eNCA's Heidi Giokos is at OR Tambo International Airport with the latest. Courtesy #DStv403

Passengers on the South African Airways (SAA) flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town were greeted on their departure by singing and dancing airline staff.

READ: SAA Finds Its Wings | WATCH | SAA takes to the skies

Once Africa's second-largest airline after Ethiopian Airlines, SAA had survived for decades on government bailouts and was shedding routes even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

The government agreed in June to sell a 51% stake to a group of investors called the Takatso Consortium, opening the way to a potential injection of $200 million.

WATCH | Jubilation as SAA finds its wings again

Even after a state bailout of more than $500 million and a restructuring of its debt, the airline only emerged from bankruptcy after slashing hundreds of jobs.

It's a big day for South African Airways. After being grounded for a year and a half, the first flight is expected to take off any moment now. eNCA's Heidi Giokos is on the viewing deck at OR Tambo International Airport. Courtesy #DStv403

In addition to the domestic route that resumed on Thursday, SAA plans to begin regional services next week to Accra, Kinshasa, Lusaka, Harare and Maputo.

Chief finance officer Fikile Mhlonto said this week that the airline's fleet is down to six planes, from a previous 46.

SAA low-cost subsidiary Mango remains grounded and in bankruptcy proceedings.

- Additional reporting eNCA - 

Source
AFP

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