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A SA Express Dash-8-Q400 aircraft. (Photo: Bob Adams from George, South Africa (SA Express Dash 8-Q400 ZS-NMS) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

South African Express Placed Under Liquidation

South African Express has become one of the latest victims of the global pandemic as the South African High Court gave an order on Tuesday, April 28., for the provisional liquidation of the airline.

The airline has been under a form of bankruptcy protection since February and had suspended its services on March, 18 in light of the ongoing pandemic.

“In light of adverse recent developments including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SA Express announces that it will suspend operations from March 18, 2020, until further notice.

“SA Express will provide communication on additional developments in due course,” stated the airline in the previous press statement.

The state-owned airline under the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) had its main hub in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International and operated regional flights with an all Bombardier fleet of 24 aircraft.

South African Airways also faces the same wrath, an indicator of the crashing aviation industry with political grandstanding now surrounding the survival of the African national carrier.

The government is now looking to ‘establish a different cooperative relationship based on a spirit of strategic partnership’ following locked horns between the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) and the workers’ union who are accusing the BRPs of “having an agenda to strip off the airline’s assets and liquidate it.”

The BRPs were tasked with rescuing the debt-laden airline with the rescuing process expected to take 3 months, which would have finished by March 2020. The result was to fire all 4,800 workers by issuing a severance pay to all staff while seeking a ‘winding down’ alternative for the cash strapped airline.

“The leadership recognizes the enormity of the challenge but are unequivocally committed to saving South African Airways and shining the torch to a new world post-COVID-19 in which South African Airways is a key catalyst for investment and job creation,” states the DPE.

“The vision agreed (for SAA) by the parties is a national asset which is internationally competitive, viable, sustainable and profitable.”

A meeting is also to be convened in the coming days between the BRPs and the DPE to evaluate ‘the gravity and risk of further extensions of the much-required funding for the restructuring process of SAA.’

Victor Shalton
Victor Shalton
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