Aug 20, 2018: South Africa’s Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has announced that the merger between South African (SA) Express Airways and South African Airways (SAA) is now under process.

“The first step of consolidating SA Express with SAA has just been concluded, which was to place both airlines within one shareholder ministry,” he said at Parliament’s Portfolio Committee meeting on Public Enterprises recently.

Gordhan said that the boards and executive leaders of both state-owned airlines had been tasked with identifying ways to stabilise the entities as quickly as possible, including the use of technical, fuel and route rationalisation.

The plan to merge the two airlines, along with Mango, was announced during a press briefing in May this year as they all flew to the same destinations and both SAA and SA Express were facing liquidity and solvency challenges against a backdrop of allegations of high-level corruption.

Earlier this year, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) grounded SA Express which Gordhan said had exacerbated the financial challenges of the airline as it had been unable to generate any revenue during that period.

Government has provided the airline with a R1.74-billion guarantee but Gordhan noted that the airline still required immediate recapitalisation. The airline is set to commence operations soon.

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