SAA is here to stay, says CEO. Image: File

SAA assures Mzansi it’s here for the long haul

Following the failed sale to Takatso, the CEO of SAA, Professor Lamola, has assured Mzansi the national carrier is here to stay.


SAA is here to stay, says CEO. Image: File

South African Airways (SAA) is here to would stay, assures its CEO Professor John Lamola. The embattled national airline went on the offensive this week, sending out a communique to thousands of voyager members, reiterating the point. This follows months of indecision and confusion over the Takatso Aviation takeover, which left many – including soon-to-retire Minister Pravin Gordhan – with egg on their face.

As outlined by the CEO in an email to voyager members, “As the dust settles around the news that SAA will no longer be brought under the control of Takatso Aviation, it is with a sense of relief that I can update you on the future of South Africa’s flag carrier,” said Lamola.


Professor John Lamola
Professor John Lamola talks about his confidence in turning around the national airline. Image: File

He goes on to outline how the recovery plan that SAA embarked on 33-months ago is bearing fruit. The national airline has intentionally remodelled, resized, and repositioned itself, with a prudent growth path in mind. This is SAA’s timeline since the COVID-19 pandemic:   

  • Ceased operations in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • SAA returns the skies in September 2021 with just seven routes and six aircraft.
  • Today, SAA has doubled its routes to 14, flying 13 aircraft.
  • SAA will soon take delivery of four news Airbus A320s.
  • In April, SAA we will begin its second intercontinental route, to Perth.


Pravin Gordhan
Minister Gordhan handled the failed Takatso Consortium deal to purchase South African Airways. Image: File

Lamola then explains SAA is confident it can explore a range of new funding options that were not available to it three years ago. These are independent of South Africa’s national fiscus. “SAA has unencumbered assets we are ready to convert into cash. And our recovery has significantly repaired our credit rating with financial institutions, which have closely followed our journey back to stability,” said Lamola.

The CEO reiterates that none of this would have been possible without its valued stakeholders around the world, championing its recovery. “SAA remains an admired member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), African Association of Airlines (AFRAA), and of course, part of the global network of Star Alliance,” concluded Lamola.

NEXT READ: INFO on revised SASSA long-weekend grant payments

What do you think of SAA? It is 90 years old, but will it be around for the next 90 years? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.