By Sifiso Zulu for EWN
State-owned airline Mango is still waiting to hear from the Department of Public Enterprises about exactly when it will receive a cash injection amid concerns that salaries may not be paid.
The airline said it would be able to communicate on Tuesday about what lay ahead while there were reports that it would soon go into business rescue.
About 700 employees at Mango stand to be affected by whichever decision is reached.
Government has delayed much-needed funding for Mango, promising on a number of occasions that money would be paid over.
Aviation experts say the horse had already bolted at Mango and it would take immediate cashflow to make up for the financial losses.
Aviation economist Joachim Vermooten said Mango was already faced with financial problems, which were made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can’t maintain these kinds of operations. You really need to restructure and take it down to whatever you can learn.”
“Mango still has an important role in the aviation industry, particularly to provide SAA with what we call domestic connectivity,” said aviation expert Guy Leech.
Meanwhile, trade union Numsa said the department was to blame for the financial challenges at Mango.
By Sumit Rehal for Simple Flying
FlySafair has expressed an interest in purchasing fellow South African carrier Mango Airlines, if it is put up for sale. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer Elmar Conradie confirmed the potential move on Tuesday.
IOL reports that FlySafair’s management approached South African Airways’ administrators about a possible acquisition of the low-cost carrier. However, Conradie made it clear that he is only interested in Mango and not any other aspects of its struggling parent company.
Mango was founded in 2006 and operates mostly domestic routes within South Africa. However, it does serve Zanzibar, the is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.
Conradie affirmed that a purchase of SAA Technical, which specializes in aircraft maintenance would not make sense. This is because his carrier is already serviced by Safair Operations (Pty) Ltd, its own parent company.
South African Airways has been going through a dire period as of late with struggling financials. Last month, South Africa’s National Treasury shared that it will provide a $1 billion bailout for the country’s flag carrier. However, this decision has been met with criticism by many members of the nation’s public due to the amount of funds being spent on the airline.
Meanwhile, FlySafair has been seeing great progress since it commenced operations six years ago. It currently flies to seven destinations across South Africa and it continues to increase its routes and frequencies.
Moreover, it is set to announce a new service to Durban from Johannesburg next week. Meanwhile, it has been slowly upgrading its fleet of 17 aging Boeing 737-400 aircraft to updated 737-800 models.
While the novel coronavirus outbreak is having a massive shift in the global aviation industry, Conradie claims that it has not had an impact on his firm’s operations as of yet. In fact, FlySafair is expecting capacity to increase by 15 percent this year and is yet to see any negative results on bookings amid the spread of the virus.
Several other airlines have been forced to cut many of their flights by the day due to the drop in demand. Additionally, some carriers have had to suspend services due to governmental policy, such as Kuwait’s recent decision to close its intentional airport.
South Africa currently has 16 active cases. However, with the World Health Organization now classing the outbreak as a pandemic, airlines across South Africa could start to feel the brunt of it. Ultimately, South African Airways will be keeping a close eye due to its existing struggles.
Passengers on a recent Mango flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town were terrified when the aircraft suddenly nosedived, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Johannesburg. A subsequent investigation into the incident has highlighted the extent of South African Airways’ problems.
- A faulty part was fitted to the aircraft by SAA Technical
- SAA admitted that it has been infiltrated by an international criminal syndicate
- The syndicate has supplied the company with suspicious aircraft parts and looted “hundreds of millions of rands”
- Defective parts cause incidents such as the nosedive of the Mango Boeing 737
- Comair, which operates British Airways in South Africa, has ended its relationship with SAA Technical
- Airlines have been grounded for such activities
- The government has pumped almost R50-billion into the airline in the last decade