JOHANNESBURG – A commentator on the airline industry says South African Airways (SAA) is at a crunch point.
Guy Leitch, editor of the SA Flyer magazine, said on Monday that Standard Bank had called in a R258-million loan to the bealeaguered airline and a second tranche would become due at the end of September.
The national carrier requires added funding before it can report its financial results in September and on Sunday placed anew spaper advert asking for R16-billion from potential lenders.
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The state-owned airline is seeking secured and unsecured funding with a three- to 15-year duration and wants to start drawing down the amount within two weeks of signing the loan agreement.
In July, the national carrier cancelled a contract with financier BnP Capital after reports that it used incorrect procurement processes to land its services.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told eNCA the advert on Sunday was part of the debt consolidation following the discontinuation of BnP’s services.
Last week ,Hong Kong’s tax authorities threatened to ground SAA planes if the airline didn’t provide financial statements by 6 September.
But SAA requires a guarantee of about R5-billion rand to finalise its financial statements for 2014-15 and may require another for 2015-16.
Treasury has held back the guarantee, saying the airline needs to assemble a new board before it opens its purse.
The airliner has failed to submit financial statements for the past two years.