The R3bn figure we have announced is what the Consortium estimates will be required to fund the first 12 to 36 months of working capital requirements of the newly launched SAA. Future capital and planning of SAA will be determined post completion of the due diligence exercise. At this stage, given the uncertainty created by the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation sector and the travel restrictions, it is premature to affirm numbers on the future capital requirements.
As a shareholder, the PIC is represented by two independent executive directors on the Harith Board. Importantly, Harith is an independent entity and has been run according to high standards of corporate governance since its inception. The PIC is not an investor in any of the funds managed by Harith.
Harith owns rail, aviation, toll-road and border post assets across several African markets. This includes Lanseria International Airport, the only privately owned international airport in South Africa and the second largest in Gauteng after OR Tambo International Airport. An airline of SAA’s stature and heritage will complement Harith’s transport investment platform and will put it in a strong position for future growth.
The Consortium will work closely with the DPE to determine the most pragmatic way forward for SAA subsidiaries.
Legacy airline models are broken. Covid has exposed their weaknesses and created an opportunity to start afresh with a low cost, highly agile model with a focus on service, innovation and the smart use of technology. A challenging industry for sure, but we have what it takes to succeed.
We believe that a public listing of SAA will help provide funding in the future and enable inclusive ownership of the airline. We’ll have a few years to prove the model and demonstrate success. We are confident there will be a lot of interest in a future listing.
It’s difficult to predict but we anticipate that the due diligence will take six to eight weeks. In the interim we are working on a rapid start up plan for SAA.
Very much so, and across all requirements of BEE. Transformation will be central to the new SAA. An iconic South African brand needs to representative of the country’s talent. Pilots will be a big focus of our transformation efforts. We will create alignment with all the people of SAA with an innovative remuneration structures and incentive schemes.
We have to rebuild trust in the SAA brand. This is a brand South Africans will want to succeed as it will be their brand. Our approach is first to recruit the best team and build a culture of trust and respect. This inevitably will spill over to our customers. We don’t only want to be trusted; we want to be loved!
Due diligence and planning will start immediately. As soon as we are able to do so, we will give more detail on key issues such as the timing of the final agreements, route network planning, fleet acquisition, interim flying arrangements, the brand relaunch, SAA subsidiaries, the leadership team, the transformation plan and the Voyager program.
We want to fly as soon as possible. We need to consider the current impact of the third Covid wave, but work has started in earnest to get this show on the road (or in the sky)! We know there’s an expectation that we get up and running and get back up into the skies. But we need to do it properly and be doubly sure that we can introduce this brand in a fresh, robust, safe, reliable and interesting way. So watch this space!
Domestic is the logical place to start especially given Covid dynamics. The US’s successful vaccine program has resulted in domestic air travel recovering to 90% of pre-Covid levels.
Regional and international services will follow as things open up. We are carefully assessing the long-term effects of Covid on business travel. Our strategy will be fully demand driven.
Negotiations are under way between the DPE and SAAPA. The Consortium will not be involved in these negotiations.