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South Africa aims for national airline to fly again in first half of 2021

The South African government said on Thursday that it was aiming for its state-owned national airline to fly again in the first half of next year, after it gave the airline a new ZAR 10.5B (US$650M) bailout in the mid-term budget.

South African Airways (SAA) has been under bankruptcy protection since December and has only flown repatriation and cargo flights since March, when the government imposed a strict coronavirus lockdown.

SAA has not made a profit in a decade.

Also read: South Africa bails out airline after investor search fails

The lockdown was eased on Oct. 1, when the country opened its borders to travellers from some countries. But SAA’s administrators mothballed all operations while the government found funding for a restructuring plan approved by creditors in July.

The Department of Public Enterprises, the ministry responsible for SAA, said in a statement that it believed the restructuring plan “will create a solid base for the emergence of a competitive, viable and sustainable national airline for the Republic of South Africa”.

It is one of a handful of state-owned companies the government has been keeping afloat with bailouts at a time of weak economic growth.

A spokeswoman for SAA’s administrators declined to comment.

Source: Reuters

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