SA Express hopes to receive money owed by troubled carrier SAA

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State-owned airline SA Express Airways said on Wednesday it was hoping cash-strapped national carrier South African Airways would prioritise paying money it owes the former.

On Tuesday SAA’s business rescue practitioners said the airline would receive R3.5 billion ($244 million) of emergency funding from the government-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa.

The government placed SAA under business rescue last December, with public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan saying this would allow the airline, which was forced to cancel some flights, to continue operating in an orderly and safe manner and keep planes and passengers flying.

On Wednesday, SA Express said it had been battling for the last two months to get the money owed by SAA, which acts as a collection agent for it.

“As of December 7 … SAA has been in unlawful possession of the collected revenue and has no right to retain the (money),” it said.

“Now that SAA has received funds, the regional airline trusts that finally paying these revenues will be prioritised. SA Express hopes to close this matter and move forward to focus on strengthening and growing its business.”

SAA recently put nine of its Airbus A340-300 and A340-600 aircraft for sale, as well as 15 spare engines, although it said this had nothing to do with the business rescue process.

African News Agency (ANA)