By Hannatu Sadiq
The South African Government has announced it had found a new private equity partner for South African Airways, as it moves to relaunch operations.
The announcement which came on Friday morning, revealed that when the airline takes to the skies again, it will be 51 percent controlled by the Takatso Consortium, which says its goal is to turn SAA into an iconic South African brand and a world-class Pan-African airline.
The fate of South African Airways has long been uncertain since its suspension from operations nine months ago. The airline is aiming to restart flights before September this year, and when it does resume operations, it will be with a new majority stakeholder.
A year and a half after being placed under administration, the airline now has a new private equity partner. Earlier today, the South African government revealed it had sold a majority stake in the carrier to the Takatso Consortium. The company will own 51 percent of South African Airways, while the government will retain 49 percent.
“The strategic equity partner is known as Takatso, which is a consortium, and the word Takatso in Sotho means aspire. And this consortium is 51% black-owned. It brings together two very resourceful entities, Harith, which is a funder and interest structure investor and an airport owner and a global airway which has sufficient and interesting experience in the airline industry,” Pravin Gordhan , Public enterprise minister said Friday morning as reported by the Times Live.
In a statement issued after the announcement, the consortium said it wants to rebuild SAA into an iconic South African brand and a sustainable, world-class pan-African airline. Initially, the new owners will commit over 3 billion rand ($221.60 million) to breathe new life into SAA.
“The partnership represents a robust, exciting South-African bred solution. Harith, as owners of Lanseria International Airport, has significant experience in the transportation and aviation sectors,” Harith’s co-founder and chair of Takatso Consortium, Tshepo Mahloele, said in the statement.
“Global’s operating model is unique, highly efficient, and fit for purpose for a newly launched airline,” he added.
While the airline’s new investors may have far-reaching plans for their acquisition, it looks as if they will remain regional for now. In May, SAA’s interim CEO told the national parliament that the carrier has no immediate plans to operate long-haul flights again until 2023.