DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Mozambique's insurgency: After Palma, what comes next?

South African Airways needs culture reset as take-off approaches

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 14:52

A South African Airways (SAA) plane is towed at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg
A South African Airways (SAA) plane is towed at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Airways (SAA), which takes to the skies again on 23 September, will need to develop a culture of stable management under its prospective new owners if it is to succeed, analysts say.

The airline, which came out of administration after 17 months in April, will operate initial flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo, with more to be added later.

Repeated attempts to turn the airline around before Covid-19 failed to bear fruit, with the company running up losses of R26.9bn ($1.8bn) from 2007 to 2019. The airline also suffered from chronic leadership instability, with 14 CEOs between 1994 and 2020. Current CEO Thomas Kgokolo is the third interim appointment in the last three years.