SAA is embarking on a restructuring process, which may lead to job losses.

It is expected that approximately 944 employees may be affected, the airline said in a statement. It employs 5 146 people.

The scope of the restructuring encompasses all SAA divisions and departments but excludes subsidiaries SAAT, Mango Airlines and Air Chefs.

Acting ceo, Zuks Ramasia, said the airline had commenced a consultation process with all employees in line with section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. The act requires an employer to consult with recognised labour unions and keep abreast employees who may be affected by the restructuring process.

She said SAA had faced numerous challenges over the past few years culminating in the current grave situation. The challenges include, funding and liquidity challenges; inability to borrow indefinitely without repaying debt; high interest costs on loans; volatile and fluctuating fuel price;  currency volatility; insufficient revenue and cash generation in relation to operating cost; ageing fleet which is expensive to maintain and is fuel inefficient, making it difficult for SAA to compete in the market place; and aggressive international and regional competition for revenue stimulation and network optimisation, the statement said.

“We urgently need to address ongoing lossmaking position that has subsisted over the past years.  That is why we are undergoing a restructuring process that seeks to ensure effective implementation of the accelerated Long Term Turnaround Strategy amidst the present prevailing operational challenges.