The business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of South African Airways’ (SAA) have filed a notice of substantial implementation with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) that effectively brings to an end the airline’s 17 months in business rescue. Simultaneously, while this took place on April 30, the operations of SAA were handed back to its board.

In a statement, the BRPs said the airline had received R7,8bn (US$53,9m) of the R10,3bn (US$71,1m) in funding required for the implementation of the approved business rescue plan.

“A significant portion of the debt that hamstrung SAA has since been compromised and the balance thereof transferred to the Receivership, a vehicle specifically intended to ensure the debt is paid over the next three years. Thus, the practitioners are leaving both a solvent and liquid SAA adequately set to continue into the future,” said the BRPs in an outgoing statement. They wished the SAA board well.

Two weeks ago SAA appointed a new interim ceo, Thomas Kgokolo, to head the airline’s restart. In a Q&A with news website Daily Maverick, Thomas said his initial priority was to ensure that the BRPs handed over the company to management before plans were put in place to restart the airline.

“We need to look at routes that are profitable and sustainable and whether we are using the latest aircraft in terms of technology and fuel efficiency. We also need to make sure that the organisation structure is capacitated with the right people. We will do a staggered restart by first starting with domestic and regional flights. We are looking at a period between July and August this year to get back in the air. The management that takes over from us can add on more flight capacity but this is all dependent on when the dispute with the SAA pilots is resolved,” said Thomas in the Daily Maverick article.

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