Airlines Emirates denies plans to buy SAA stakes

  • South African Airways

After recent reports that Emirates and Etihad Airways were in talks with South African Airways (SAA) over a possible partnership Emirates denied having plans to invest in SAA or any other airline.

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The African carrier SAA has struggled with its performances over the last couple months and is in desperate need for new investors to regain competitiveness. As private investors are a rarity for the airline, it has now to focus on reaching an agreement with an airline that is keen to invest in SAA.

However, after reports had sprung up that Emirates was planning to buy into SAA, the airline has now denied such plans. Discussions with Emirates Airline have stretched over several months. Emirates – at best – will seek to deepen the current code-share agreement with SAA.

“We are committed to the South African market and have enjoyed close cooperation with South African Airways since 1997, and we are working closely to further enhance our code-share,” an Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News via email. “However, we have no plans to invest to take any equity share in South African Airways or any other airline.”

According to aviation media, Etihad Airways has had separate discussions with South African Airways. But reportedly, the carrier is currently hesitating to agree on a deal with the struggling carrier, too. Until 2016, Etihad and SAA successfully had a code-share agreement that ended, after SAA ceased to serve the route between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg.

Vuyani Jarana, chief executive officer at SAA, said recently, that the company last year received a government bailout to prevent a debt default. He also said, that the airline desperately needs financial sources and that the carrier has therefore begun to search for a possible partner.

South African Airways is the flag carrier of South Africa and has its headquarters at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The carrier was founded in 1934 and celebrated its 80th year of existence in 2014. Currently, South African Airways’ mainline operates with a fleet of nearly 50 aircraft. Airbus A319, A320, A330, A340 and Boeing 737 belong to the carrier´s fleet. SAA serves 69 destinations in 27 countries. Subsidiary airlines are South African Airlink and South African Express Airways.


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