South African Airways receives $650 million bailout as government targets return to the skies

South African Airways (SAA) has received a new $650 million bailout in the mid-term budget released by the South African government.

The state-owned airline has been under bankruptcy protection since December, and after the government imposed a strict coronavirus lockdown in March, has flown only repatriation and cargo flights.

South African Airways financial woes have been running for long, with the airline not making a profit in a decade.

SAA also searched for creditors in June and mothballed operations awaiting injections of finances.

The government while issuing the bailout indicated that it expected the national airline to resume flights again in the first half of 2021. It also eased restrictions on October 1, when the country opened its borders to travelers from selected countries.

The Department of Public Enterprises, the ministry responsible for SAA, said in a statement that it believed the restructuring plan “will create a solid base for the emergence of a competitive, viable and sustainable national airline for the Republic of South Africa”.

SAA is among a handful of state-owned companies the South African government has been keeping afloat with bailouts amid record economic recession in the third quarter.

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