SAA remains under liquidity constraints and government “continues to indicate its support for the business rescue practice”, according to a statement by the joint business rescue practitioners, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana.

The two were appointed late last year to look at a business rescue strategy for the troubled national carrier. Spokesperson for the practitioners, Louise Brugman, told Tourism Update that while there was a liquidity crisis, the liquidation of SAA was not one of the business rescue scenarios.

“The business rescue practitioners remain hopeful that a mechanism can be found to unlock the liquidity constraints and are committed to keeping all stakeholders abreast of any new developments as and when they can,” she said.

According to Brugman, SAA entered a business rescue – a form of bankruptcy protection – last month in an effort to prevent the state-owned company from going into liquidation.

The carrier was promised R2 billion (€125 million) from lenders – which it received – and another R2bn bailout from government, which it has yet to receive from National Treasury.

Following a briefing session with the business rescue team, where they disclosed the money promised by government, a trade union official warned that SAA could be forced to suspend some flights and delay salary payments if the government did not “pay up very soon”.

Tourism Update was unable to obtain comment from SAA, National Treasury and the trade union (NUMSA) at the time of going to press.

Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni – speaking at a meeting with business leaders in Johannesburg today (Thursday) ahead of next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos – was however quoted by several media outlets as saying that National Treasury had provided “financial support to SAA to the best of its abilities”.