SAA undergoing 'journey' of transformation to eventually attract equity partner: CEO

16 March, 2018

South African Airways (SAA) CEO Vuyani Jarana said the carrier is undergoing "a journey of transforming the airline" to reach the point of being able to secure a strategic equity partner (BusinessDay, 15-Mar-2018). Mr Jarana said the South African Government's decision to eventually seek a partner for the airline indicates the carrier requires private sector investment to support balance sheet restructuring and to inject skills to provide "operating leverage". He said: "We've developed a very clear five year plan with a clear path to profitability" and outlined "a number of elements that are critical for us to look into as part of the strategy". Elements include restructuring the airline "so that it's fit for the future", focusing on route profitability and rationalising the network, right-sizing the organisation to improve efficiency and reviewing procurement, which Mr Jarana described as "critical" and the area "where the single biggest benefits are". He said the strategy is predicated on "being very aggressive on cost reduction". While the airline does not expect to attract a partner immediately, Mr Jarana said discussions between the board and the government on potentially divesting non core assets are progressing "with a lot more urgency".