Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Last chance saloon for SAA

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Since the turn of the century, beleaguered South African Airways (SAA) has embarked on no fewer than eight failed turnaround strategies. Having now completed an emergency “90-day action plan” to restore near-term solvency, it is resuming the ninth such attempt.

The heavily loss-making airline has in many ways come to embody everything that is wrong with state-owned flag-carriers: commercially profligate, lumbering companies whose cost structures hark back to a bygone era of luxury flying. While its European and North America competitors were long ago jolted into reality by a wave of deregulation and privatisation, SAA continues to live in its government’s pocket, hiding behind a wall of protectionism that props up the parastatal while holding down the private sector...