South African Airways has been granted 90 days to provide the necessary documentation to the Air Services Licensing Board (ASLC) or lose its operating license.
The South African air service regulator has asked, among other things, for more information regarding the status of the Takatso Consortium’s acquisition of a 51% stake in the airline.
In a statement, the South African National carrier confirmed it has been cautioned by the ASLC of possible legal breaches, however, the airline assures its customers that the matters raised “are administrative,” and that the “questions raised in the letter do not impact SAA’s current and future operations as well as the quality of the services provided by SAA.”
“SAA is currently studying the contents of the letter and will be responding fully to the ASLC within or before the timeframe provided by the council,” SAA said.
SAA assures its customers and the public that the matters raised in the letter are administrative, relating to the SEP (strategic equity partner) transaction that is currently being negotiated by the Government, as the shareholder, as well as issues relating to SAA’s interaction with the ASLC, the submission of financial statements, and internal staff movement.
“The questions raised in the letter do not impact SAA’s current and future operations as well as the quality of the services provided by SAA. To that end, both local and regional services are continuing uninterrupted,” the airline noted.
Concerns by the ASLC
While the first concern by the ASLC is the airline’s failure to disclose the sale to Takatso Consortium, other alleged breaches by SAA include;
Not submitting an up-to-date guarantee for the total value of sold but unflown tickets. With the sale amount based on SAA’s projected cash flow, the council believes the amount was not a fair representation of the figure.
As required by law, the council notes that the airline failed to notify the council of changes to company “postholders,” including the CEO and managers responsible for flight operations and aircraft, and air safety.
SAA must also submit certified financial statements to the ASLC for the most recently completed financial year, in line with the council’s legal duty of ensuring that SAA operates “a safe and reliable air service”.
Recently, Mango Airlines, SAA’s low-cost carrier was dealt a blow after it recently had its operating license suspended, for not operating for over a year as it continues a lengthy business rescue process.