South Africans shouldn’t fear travelling with SAA, says interim CFO Fikile Mhlontlo

Fikile says SAA’s new fleet is part of new lease arrangements, putting past issues where they belong.

As South African Airways (SAA) takes to the skies again, interim CFO Fikile Mhlontlo said that South Africans can lay their fears of travelling in old aircraft to rest, as the airline has signed new leases that come with new aircraft.

Fikile explained that the airline will only be operating six aircraft, down from 46. “The fleet that we had was returned to [the] lessors. We are starting with a new fleet as part of the new lease arrangements, so some of the issues that were related to the [previous] fleet should be issues of the past,” he said.

He added that, given the impact Covid-19 has had on the aviation industry – and the wider travel and tourism sector – it will take a while for the airline to start making a profit again. Fikile said that while aviation is a “difficult industry”, the new management team has done a host of things to at least start in a direction where the airline “really stands a chance”.