ALREADY LIVING ON BORROWED TIME DO PILOTS NOW ADD TO SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS’ WOES
(Posted 29th September 2019)
Waiting for hundreds of millions of US Dollars to be released by the South African government to stay afloat – one of multiple similar bailouts in the past – is South African Airways now facing a new battlefront.
The airline’s pilots have just issued a strike notice, prompting the airline to respond publicly:
Statement By SAA Board Of Directors In Response To Matters Raised By Saa Pilots’ Association
27 September 2019 .
27 September 2019.
SAA has noted the statements made by South African Airways Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) in the media. We are disappointed that this has been placed in the public domain while we continue to engage meaningfully with SAAPA on a number of issues. We are in the middle of the negotiation process and we would prefer to see that the process run its natural course before any statements are made by the parties.
However, given that SAAPA has raised a number of issues publicly, SAA would like to set the record straight and state as follows:
1. We accept that SAA is facing a number of challenges on many fronts, including revenue stimulation and network optimisation. To address this challenge, an experienced executive with responsibility for this area has started in September 2019.
2. SAA has taken steps to bring in required capacity to strengthen management and this is widely known and seen within the company. We all must acknowledge that the appointment processes take time, as due process has to be followed. Notwithstanding, a number of key appointments, including the Chief Commercial Officer, the CEO of SAA Technical, the CEO of Mango, have been announced and more executive hires are in the pipeline.
3. Management continues to engage with SAAPA, other unions and all employees in sharing progress being made and mechanisms being developed to address the many other challenges. Inputs from all interested parties in the company are welcomed and given due consideration.
4. SAA wants to assure the public, its employees and SAAPA that we are cognisant of the need to turn SAA around urgently, hence the accelerated Long-term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS) implementation.
5. We are committed to building a strong and resilient SAA in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The board and the executive are seized with this urgent task and we urge SAAPA to continue with the constructive engagements they have had with the company.
6. It is in no one’s interest to embark on industrial action. We would hope that everyone is committed to the philosophy and course of action set out above, which we believe is supported by all key stakeholders.
With South African Airways, and their owners, the South African government, weighing their options for the future, including a merger with their subsidiary units Mango – the only division making profits for that matter – and SA Express which is due to be discussed on cabinet level very soon, is it now anyone’s guess for how long tax payers money will and can be used for continued bailouts each worth hundreds of millions of US Dollar.